WASHINGTON (AP) — Javier Baez delivered the go-ahead run with a bunt single in the 10th inning, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Washington Nationals 4-3 on Thursday in a makeup of a game postponed earlier in the week.
Kris Bryant doubled with one out in the 10th against Sean Doolittle (3-3) and moved to third on ex-National Daniel Murphy’s infield single. Baez, who homered in the sixth and drove in three on the day, bunted just to the right of first baseman Ryan Zimmerman to score Bryant.
Baez, an MVP candidate, has 31 homers and leads the NL with 103 RBIs.
Chicago stretched its lead in the NL Central to 1½ games over idle Milwaukee. Washington fell 8½ games behind Atlanta in the NL East.
Pedro Strop (6-1) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for Chicago, while Randy Rosario worked the 10th for his first career save.
The game was a makeup of Sunday’s rainout. Washington returned home between stops in Philadelphia and Atlanta, while Chicago wedged the game in between a pair of three-game series at home. Thursday was the last remaining mutual off day for the teams, and the Cubs arrived at their hotel rooms around 4 a.m. — 12 hours before the first pitch. First baseman Anthony Rizzo boarded the flight to Washington in full uniform.
Washington took the lead on Spencer Kieboom’s solo homer in the third. However, the Cubs got to Nationals starter Joe Ross in the fourth, with Baez delivering an RBI double and then scoring a batter later on Victor Caratini’s single. The Nationals tied it on Victor Robles’ sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Baez’s opposite-field homer into the Nationals’ bullpen in the sixth gave Chicago a 3-2 lead. An inning later, Trea Turner capped an 11-pitch plate appearance with an RBI double to score Robles.
Ross faced major league hitters for the second time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in July 2017, allowing two runs, four hits and two walks in five innings. Rain wiped out his first start in the second inning last Friday.
Mike Montgomery allowed two runs on three hits in four innings for the Cubs, who used eight relievers.
Cubs: OF Kyle Schwarber and the team’s starting pitchers remained in Chicago during the one-day trip to Washington.
Cubs: Chicago heads back to Wrigley Field to open a three-game series against Cincinnati as LHP Cole Hamels (9-9, 3.71 ERA) gets the ball. Hamels is 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA since his acquisition from Texas.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (17-6, 2.31) starts the opener of a three-game series at Atlanta. The three-time Cy Young winner is 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 27 innings this season against the Braves.
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