Brian Schneider hit a solo homer in the 12th inning, and the Nationals overcame Cordero's first blown save in more than two months to complete a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs with a 5-4 victory Sunday.
The Nationals have won six straight to reach 50 wins faster than any season in franchise history. It was the first three-game sweep at Wrigley Field for the club since the Montreal Expos did it June 3-5, 1994.
Cordero's blown save was one of two by in the late innings by Washington pitchers, who also could not hold a two-run lead in the 11th.
"Nobody gets down. The only cry was 'Let's pick Chief up,"' said Nationals manager Frank Robinson, referring to Cordero.
"You've got to give credit to our team," Schneider said. "Chad gave up the save but he's picked us up all year long, so it was our turn to pick him up."
Washington led 2-0 in the ninth before Aramis Ramirez hit his 18th homer, a two-run shot off Cordero that ended the closer's streak of 26 consecutive saves. It was Cordero's first blown save since April 21 at Atlanta, and third of the season.
"It was a little weird, but it was bound to happen sometime. It's better that it happens now rather than later," Cordero said.
The Cubs have lost four straight games.
Carlos Baerga singled off Glendon Rusch to open the 11th. Schneider followed with what appeared to be a double-play grounder to second baseman Todd Walker, but Walker threw the ball out of the reach of shortstop Neifi Perez, putting Baerga and Schneider on second.
After a botched squeeze attempt with two strikes by Jamey Carroll, Rusch walked pinch-hitter Wil Cordero to load the bases with one out. Wilkerson followed with a two-run double on a 3-1 count to deep center, giving the Nationals a 4-2 lead.
"You have to give them a little bit of credit for continuing to pound on us," Walker said. "They did all the things right this series."
Jerry Hairston led off the bottom of the 11th with a homer off Hector Carrasco. Carrasco then got two consecutive outs, but allowed back-to-back singles to Jeromy Burnitz and Ramirez to put runners at the corners.
Joey Eischen (2-0) came in and allowed a broken-bat double to Todd Hollandsworth, scoring Burnitz to tie the game at 4. Eischen also pitched the 12th for his first win since returning from a broken right wrist that landed him on the 60-day disabled list.
"We held together as a team and stuck with it," Robinson said. "We won a tough game on the road. That should give you an indication of what this team is all about."
Major-league batting leader Derrek Lee's only hit was a lined single off of Nationals starter Ryan Drese's right foot in the seventh. Drese met with trainers but stayed in the game for the rest of the inning before Luis Ayala replaced him to start the eighth.
"We did get some big hits, but they got more. They got the better of us," Lee said.
Drese pitched seven scoreless innings, only allowing four hits.
Claimed off waivers from Texas on June 10, Drese allowed a leadoff single to Jerry Hairston in the first inning and then retired 13 straight. Drese struck out one and walked none while throwing only 89 pitches in seven innings.
Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano pitched seven innings, allowing two runs and six hits. He struck out seven and walked three.
|The Nats' Carlos Baerga and Brian Schneider embrace after the team's sixth straight win. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Brad Wilkerson, CF||5||0||2||2||1||0||1||.270|
|Junior Spivey, 2B||5||1||0||0||1||4||6||.232|
|Jose Guillen, RF||5||1||3||0||1||2||1||.310|
|Vinny Castilla, 3B||4||0||1||1||2||0||4||.260|
|Marlon Byrd, LF||6||0||0||0||0||4||4||.266|
|Carlos Baerga, 1B||6||1||2||0||0||1||3||.286|
|Brian Schneider, C||6||2||2||2||0||1||2||.271|
|Jamey Carroll, SS||6||0||0||0||0||1||4||.242|
|Ryan Drese, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|Luis Ayala, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Rick Short, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.500|
|Chad Cordero, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Sun-Woo Kim, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Wil Cordero, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.119|
|Tony Blanco, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
|Hector Carrasco, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Joey Eischen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.000|
|a-walked for Ayala in the 9th|
|b-was walked intentionally for Kim in the 11th|
|2B - Brad Wilkerson (28, Rusch), Vinny Castilla (20, Zambrano)|
|HR - Brian Schneider (6, Mitre)|
|SH - Ryan Drese (2)|
|RBI - Brad Wilkerson 2 (31), Vinny Castilla (41), Brian Schneider 2 (23)|
|2-OUT RBI - Vinny Castilla (23), Brian Schneider 2 (9)|
|CS - Brad Wilkerson (6, 2nd base by Zambrano/Barrett)|
|Team LOB - 12|
|Luis Ayala (H,17)||1||1||0||0||0||2||0||2.94|
|Chad Cordero (BS,3)||1||2||2||2||0||1||1||1.25|
|Hector Carrasco (H,7)||0.2||3||2||2||0||1||1||2.43|
|Joey Eischen (BS,1; W,2-0)||1.1||1||0||0||1||0||0||3.27|
|IBB - Perez by Joey Eischen|
|Pitches-Strikes - Ryan Drese 89-0, Luis Ayala 16-0, Chad Cordero 23-0, Sun-Woo Kim 8-0, Hector Carrasco 19-0, Joey Eischen 25-0|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ryan Drese 8-11, Luis Ayala 1-0, Sun-Woo Kim 1-1, Hector Carrasco 1-0, Joey Eischen 3-1|
|Batters Faced - Ryan Drese 24, Luis Ayala 4, Chad Cordero 5, Sun-Woo Kim 3, Hector Carrasco 5, Joey Eischen 6|
|Jerry Hairston Jr., CF||6||1||3||1||0||0||1||.274|
|Todd Walker, 2B||6||0||0||0||0||1||2||.298|
|Derrek Lee, 1B||5||0||1||0||0||0||1||.383|
|Jeromy Burnitz, RF||5||2||2||0||0||0||1||.277|
|Aramis Ramirez, 3B||5||1||2||2||0||0||1||.301|
|Todd Hollandsworth, LF||5||0||2||1||0||2||1||.274|
|Neifi Perez, SS||4||0||0||0||1||1||1||.269|
|Michael Barrett, C||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||.261|
|Corey Patterson, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.236|
|Henry Blanco, C||1||0||0||0||0||0||3||.157|
|Carlos Zambrano, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.216|
|Roberto Novoa, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Will Ohman, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Jose Macias, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.271|
|Ryan Dempster, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.077|
|b- Jason Dubois, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.246|
|Glendon Rusch, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.143|
|Sergio Mitre, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.364|
|c- Ronny Cedeno, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.261|
|a-doubled for Ohman in the 8th|
|b-grounded out for Dempster in the 10th|
|c-grounded out for Mitre in the 12th|
|2B - Jerry Hairston Jr. (13, Drese), Todd Hollandsworth (13, Eischen), Jose Macias (5, Ayala)|
|HR - Jerry Hairston Jr. (3, Carrasco), Aramis Ramirez (18, C. Cordero)|
|RBI - Jerry Hairston Jr. (10), Aramis Ramirez 2 (52), Todd Hollandsworth (27)|
|2-OUT RBI - Aramis Ramirez 2 (17), Todd Hollandsworth (4)|
|CS - Jerry Hairston Jr. (8, 2nd base by Drese/Schneider), Corey Patterson (3, 2nd base by Kim/Schneider)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Barrett-Walker, Zambrano-Perez|
|E - Todd Walker (1, Wild throw), Carlos Zambrano 2 (2, Wild throw)|
|Sergio Mitre (L,2-4)||1.2||1||1||1||1||1||1||5.51|
|IBB - Wilkerson by Carlos Zambrano, Cordero by Glendon Rusch|
|Pitches-Strikes - Carlos Zambrano 120-0, Roberto Novoa 17-0, Will Ohman 4-0, Ryan Dempster 34-0, Glendon Rusch 19-0, Sergio Mitre 25-0|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carlos Zambrano 7-6, Ryan Dempster 2-1, Glendon Rusch 1-0, Sergio Mitre 3-1|
|Batters Faced - Carlos Zambrano 29, Roberto Novoa 4, Will Ohman 1, Ryan Dempster 7, Glendon Rusch 5, Sergio Mitre 7|
|Attendance - 40006|
|Game Time - 3:47|
|Temperature - 76|
|Umpires - Home - Ed Hickox, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Tim Welke, Third Base - Brian O'Nora|