Ruggiano Homers, Cubs Cool Off Nationals 7-2
WASHINGTON (AP) — Justin Ruggiano homered for the second straight game for the Chicago Cubs, who used another solid outing from Jason Hammel to beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Friday.
Ruggiano connected for a solo shot against Tanner Roark (7-6) in the third inning, and then added a run-scoring single in Chicago’s three-run ninth. He has six hits and seven RBIs in his last two games.
Chris Coghlan had two hits and scored three times as the Cubs collected 14 hits in their fourth consecutive victory.
Hammel (8-5) gave up two runs in six-plus innings in his second consecutive victory against Washington. The 6-foot-6 right-hander allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings in a 7-2 victory over Roark and the Nationals on June 27 in his previous start.
Hammel, who also had an RBI single in his latest victory, improved to 8-0 with a 3.11 ERA in 10 career starts against Washington.
Jayson Werth homered in his second straight game and added a double for the Nationals, who had won five in a row.
Roark was charged with four runs and nine hits in seven innings in his second straight loss after a personal four-game winning streak.
Hammel left after Anthony Rendon’s leadoff double in the seventh. Neil Ramirez then struck out Ian Desmond before Wilson Ramos singled home Rendon to make it 4-2.
Ramirez retired the next two batters to limit the damage, and the Cubs broke it open in the ninth when Ruggiano singled in Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro added a two-run single.
Nationals manager Matt Williams tinkered with his batting order in Bryce Harper’s fourth game back after a long stint on the disabled list. The lefty batter hit sixth against three Colorado left-handers earlier in the week, but Williams moved him up to the two spot Friday against a righty.
Harper was hitless in four at-bats and Rendon, who moved from second to sixth in the order, went 1 for 4.
The Cubs had first and third with no outs in the first, but settled for one run.
After Coghlan and Ruggiano singled, Roark induced a double-play grounder from Anthony Rizzo, with Coghlan scoring on the play.
Werth connected for his eighth homer in the bottom half, but Hammel had an RBI single in the second that caromed off Roark’s lower back and Ruggiano’s opposite-field drive made it 3-1.
The first two Nationals reached base against Hammel in the fifth, but Roark struck out attempting to bunt, Denard Span grounded into a fielder’s choice, and Harper struck out.
NOTES: Werth is 6 for 10 with two homers, three doubles and six RBIs in his last three games. … Chicago’s Nate Schierholtz, running from first on a pitch in the fourth, took a step past second base on John Baker’s fly out to center. When he didn’t retouch second on his way back to first, the Nationals appealed and Schierholtz was called out. . The last time starters with identical records and ERAs with at least 15 starts squared off was August 15, 1974, when Jim Kaat of the White Sox opposed Baltimore’s Mike Cuellar. Both pitchers then were 13-9 with a 3.54 ERA. … Chicago RHP Jeff Samardzija (2-7, 2.83 ERA) opposes LHP Gio Gonzalez (5-4, 3.93 ERA) on Saturday.
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