Rapid Reaction: Nationals 3, Cubs 2

July, 5, 2011
7/05/11
8:55
PM CT


WASHINGTON -- Here's a quick look at the Cubs' 3-2 loss to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday:

How it happened: A shaky start by 38-year-old newcomer Ramon Ortiz and the Cubs' defense put them in a 3-0 hole after one inning. Ortiz allowed three straight singles, but Washington's Laynce Nix hit what appeared to be a 4-6-3 double play. But Jeff Baker slipped and threw the ball into left field allowing two runs to score. Baker left the game in the third inning with lower back spasms. After the first, Ortiz settled down, throwing five shutout innings in his Cubs debut.

The good: National League Player of the Week Aramis Ramirez got the Cubs back into the game with a two-run homer in the sixth inning. It was his 13th home run of the season and eighth homer in his past 13 games.

What it means: After Tuesday's loss the Cubs are assured of not winning another series. They have won just one series since May 26, and three series on the road all season (seven total).

Outside the box: Marcos Mateo had an MRI on his right elbow on Tuesday. The results of that MRI will not be released until he visits Dr. Stephen Gryzlo on Thursday. Ryan Dempster is still slow to recover from back and hip soreness originally diagnosed as an abdominal illness. Dempster is scheduled to start Saturday against the Pirates, but if he goes on the DL he can come off almost immediately after the All-Star Game. Casey Coleman is a candidate to pitch that game if Dempster can't go.

Next: The Cubs' Matt Garza (4-7, 3.77) goes against the Nationals' Livan Hernandez (5-8, 3.73) at 6:05 p.m. Wednesday.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jason Hammel
WINS ERA SO IP
2 3.05 16 20
OTHER LEADERS
BAE. Bonifacio .339
HRA. Rizzo 2
RBIA. Rizzo 8
RA. Rizzo 9
OPSA. Rizzo .922
ERAJ. Samardzija 1.29
SOT. Wood 19