WASHINGTON -- Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum was worried about how his team was going to score runs after Washington Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg cruised through the opening four innings of Saturday's game, retiring 11 of the first 12 batters he faced with seven strikeouts.
The Cubs, however, remained patient, and a throwing error by Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman appeared to rattle Strasburg and opened the door for a four-run fifth inning. The rally ended Strasbug's night, and Chicago scored four more runs off the Nationals bullpen, which entered the game with a 1.93 ERA, en route to an 8-2 victory.
"I can't lie to you," Sveum said. "[Strasburg] was throwing his breaking ball for a strike, and I didn't see anything under 96 [mph]. He was cruising, too. When he has that breaking ball, throwing strike after strike, you're in a lot of trouble."
Because of the error, Strasburg did not allow an earned run. Nonetheless, the Cubs were happy to chase him after the fifth, when they sent nine batters to the plate. One day after hitting seven doubles but managing just three runs, the Cubs hit six more doubles Saturday. And this time, they were more productive in getting runners across the plate. Chicago was 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
"We capitalized on their big mistake there -- the error," first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, said. "It was a contagious inning. We kept the line moving and did not try to do too much."
Pitcher Edwin Jackson got the fifth-inning rally going with a two-run double. Rizzo had another two-run single later that inning. The Cubs managed 12 hits, including six doubles, and did not commit an error for the first time in eight games.
"It was a very well-played game," Sveum said. "There were some really solid at-bats the whole game."