Sunday, May 12, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 2, Nationals 1
By Todd Karpovich
Special to ESPNChicago.com
WASHINGTON -- The Chicago Cubs took the three-game series against the Washington Nationals with a 2-1 victory Sunday before an announced 38,788 at Nationals Park.
How it happened: Cubs starter Scott Feldman got into a jam in the first inning, facing seven batters and throwing 29 pitches. However, he allowed just one run on a double by Ryan Zimmerman and then was dominant the rest of the way. He gave up just three hits over the next five innings. Feldman did not get any run support as Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez had a perfect game through five innings before allowing a leadoff, infield single to Dioner Navarro in the sixth. With Gonzalez gone, the Cubs tied the game on a two-out single by Starlin Castro in the eighth off Drew Storen. Chicago then got the go-ahead run in the ninth when Alfonso Soriano and Julio Borbon led off the inning with back-to-back singles off Rafael Soriano, who took the loss. On a double steal, Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki's throw hit Welington Castillo's bat and sailed into left field, allowing Soriano to score.
What it means: The Cubs won a series in Washington for the first time since 2010. They also picked up their second straight win and have won four of their past six. The Cubs remain in last place in the National League Central, but are only one game behind the third place Brewers, who were swept by the Reds.
Outside the box: Feldman’s string of three consecutive victories came to a halt as the Cubs’ offense was shut down by Gonzalez. Feldman allowed just one run on five hits over with six strikeouts and three walks over six innings. He threw 102 pitches with 61 for strikes. He did not earn a decision for the first time in six starts this season, but certainly pitched well enough to earn the win. Feldman, who is 3-3, lowered his ERA from 2.70 to 2.53.
Off beat: The bullpen appeared to make some strides against the Nationals. The Cubs relievers entered the series with a 4.47 ERA -- 25th in the major leagues. The bullpen had also blown nine saves in 18 chances. Against the Nationals, Hector Rondon, Kyuji Fujikawa and Shawn Camp allowed just one single over a combined three scoreless innings Friday night. Rondon pitched two scoreless innings in Saturday's 8-2 victory. The bullpen also pitched well in the series finale. Fujikawa and James Russell each had scoreless innings. Kevin Gregg picked up his sixth save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
Up next: The Cubs return to Wrigley Field for a six-game home stand, beginning Monday with three games against the Rockies. Travis Wood (3-2, 2.33) will start the series opener against righty Juan Nicasio (3-0, 4.72). Colorado is tied for the National League lead with a .266 average and is second in homers with 45. Colorado was shut out twice against St. Louis over the weekend. "Hopefully, the Cardinals have cooled their down offense down," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.