Rapid Reaction: Nationals 9, Cubs 1

September, 5, 2012
9/05/12
9:07
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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WASHINGTON -- The Chicago Cubs fell 9-1 on Wednesday as the Washington Nationals crushed six home runs for the second consecutive night.

HOW IT HAPPENED: The struggling Cubs offense was little match for dominating Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez. The left-hander didn’t allow a hit until Darwin Barney singled to lead off the sixth inning. Cubs starter Chris Volstad saw his brief two-start win streak come to an end as he gave up three home runs in a four-batter stretch of the third inning. With his parents in attendance, the Nationals’ Bryce Harper hit two home runs. Anthony Rizzo ended the shutout with a ninth-inning home run, his 11th.

WHAT IT MEANS: With six more home runs Wednesday, the Nationals have hit 12 long balls over the past two games. As the series continues, Jeff Samardzija’s tough-luck outing Monday in Washington looks even more spectacular. Samardzija gave up just one run over seven innings to a red-hot slugging offense while striking out eight in the Cubs’ eventual 2-1 defeat.

OUTSIDE THE BOX: Cubs manager Dale Sveum wasn’t even around to see the Cubs’ first hit of the game. He was ejected by home-plate umpire Larry Vanover in the bottom of the fifth inning for apparently yelling from the dugout. It was the fourth ejection this season for the first-time manager.

OFF BEAT: The Cubs have gone through plenty of down years but for whatever it’s worth, they can still manage to deliver at least one hit a game. The Cubs haven’t been no-hit since the Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax fired a perfect game against them on Sept. 9, 1965. The 7,475 games between no-hitters is a major league record that lives to see another day.

UP NEXT: The Cubs will send right-hander Justin Germano (2-5, 6.30 ERA) to the mound against the Nationals on Thursday in the finale of the four-game series. Washington will counter with right-hander Jordan Zimmerman (9-8, 3.01) in the 6:05 p.m. CST start from Nationals Park.

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Starlin Castro
BA HR RBI R
.292 14 65 58
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 32
RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
WJ. Arrieta 10
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 167