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Chicago at Washington

Scoreboard
Chi. Cubs011100300691
Washington «13000003x7111

Nationals 7, Cubs 6

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- The evening began with Washington Nationals players greeting fans at a spruced-up stadium with handshakes and autographs, part of a "Grand Re-Opening Weekend" meant to boost attendance.

During the game, the Nationals' new owners completed paperwork for their $450 million purchase of the club from Major League Baseball.

And to top it all off, Alex Escobar's two-run single in the eighth inning capped a comeback for Washington's 7-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday night.

"It all made for a very festive atmosphere," said manager Frank Robinson, who spent an hour talking to spectators and posing for pictures before the game, "and it carried right over."

The Nationals led 4-1, then trailed 6-4 after Aramis Ramirez hit a tiebreaking two-run shot, his second homer of the game.

But Washington scored three runs in the eighth off Bob Howry (3-3), who came in when reliever Scott Eyre left with tightness in his right hamstring after facing one batter.

"Scotty came up lame. He threw a couple of pitches and grimaced," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "It's been tight, and today it was exceptionally tight."

Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Anderson singled with one out. Soriano stole third, then scored on Ryan Zimmerman's sacrifice fly to cut Chicago's lead to 6-5. After Nick Johnson's single put runners on the corners, Escobar connected with a hanging slider. About three strides out of the batter's box, Escobar pulled up with a strained right hamstring and limped to the bag at first.

The oft-injured outfielder, who missed 42 games with a left hamstring injury earlier this season, said he couldn't entirely enjoy the moment.

"Stuff keeps happening to me," Escobar said.

The Nationals often felt that way about their entire franchise, from their cash-strapped days in Montreal, to their uneasy early tenure in Washington under Major League Baseball's control.

But Friday's rally, which made a winner of Jon Rauch (3-1), began as incoming team president Stan Kasten announced that the club's sale to a group led by real estate developer Ted Lerner was done. Control of the team will shift once a money transfer is completed Monday, Kasten said.

"Any remaining issues are complete," Kasten said, then turned his attention to the field, letting out a yelp as the runners crossed the plate on Escobar's hit.

"With that good news and the win, it's a very significant day for this organization, this franchise and the team itself," Robinson said. "The uncertainty has been cleared away."

Friday's game was the start of a homestand after a six-game road trip and the All-Star break, time used by the Lerner group to make changes to 45-year-old RFK Stadium and launch a marketing campaign called "Paint the town red."

Cosmetic changes were made to the ballpark, including new concessions stands and red carpets leading to the entrances, and fans were given red hats with the team's curly W logo. A total of 35,442 turned out, nearly 9,000 more than this season's average; the only larger crowds in 2006 were for the home opener and three games against the Yankees.

"You always feed off the fans," catcher Brian Schneider said.

And the on-field product was better than it's been: The Nationals entered the day having lost seven of nine games.

Rauch threw a perfect eighth, and Chad Cordero pitched the ninth for his 15th save.

Ramirez hit an upper-deck solo homer barely inside the foul pole off starter Pedro Astacio in the second, then drove a low pitch to the mezzanine level in left-center off reliever Kevin Gryboski for his 19th homer that broke a 4-4 tie.

Washington built its early lead against Cubs starter Mark Prior, who came off the disabled list before the game. He hit the first batter he faced, walked the next, then threw two wild pitches to allow the first of four runs he gave up over 3 1/3 innings.

The right-hander's ERA rose to 8.14, and he's winless in eight starts dating to last season, the longest drought of his career.

"Physically, I felt fine. ... At times, I feel like I do what I want to do," Prior said. "But then there are times when I can't do it. Not that I can't do it, but it's just not executing. It's nothing mechanical. It's just a lack of pitching more than anything."

Notes

Cubs 1B Derrek Lee was out of the lineup for a second consecutive game, and Baker said he would hold out Lee again Saturday to rest his right wrist. ... Robinson doesn't expect RHP John Patterson to pitch again this season. Patterson had right forearm surgery Thursday.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Washington

A. Escobar
AB 5
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Chicago

A. Ramirez
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 3
 
Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF4121000 .278
Todd Walker, 2B3001200 .284
Michael Barrett, C4120012 .337
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4223004 .260
Jacque Jones, RF4000010 .292
John Mabry, 1B4111000 .219
Matt Murton, LF4010000 .278
Ronny Cedeno, SS4110011 .256
Mark Prior, P0000000 .000
    Glendon Rusch, P1000000 .231
   a- Angel Pagan, PH1000000 .255
    Roberto Novoa, P0000000 .250
    Will Ohman, P00000001.000
    Scott Eyre, P0000000 .000
    Bob Howry, P00000001.000
   b- Phil Nevin, PH1000000 .226
Totals34696237 
a-grounded out for Rusch in the 7th
b-popped out for Howry in the 9th
Batting
2B - Juan Pierre (19, Stanton), Ronny Cedeno (11, Astacio)
HR - Aramis Ramirez 2 (19, Astacio, Gryboski), John Mabry (2, Astacio)
SF - Juan Pierre (1)
SH - Mark Prior (1)
RBI - Juan Pierre (17), Todd Walker (38), Aramis Ramirez 3 (59), John Mabry (8)
2-OUT RBI - Aramis Ramirez 2 (17)
SB - Juan Pierre (36, 3rd base off Stanton/Schneider)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
E - Todd Walker (7, throwing error)
Chicago Cubs
Mark Prior 3.1444320 8.14
Glendon Rusch 2.2100120 7.14
Roberto Novoa (H,2) 0.1200100 5.15
Will Ohman (H,3) 0.2000000 4.08
Scott Eyre (H,11) 0.1000010 2.22
Bob Howry (BS,3; L,3-3) 0.2433000 3.66
HBP - Soriano (by Mark Prior), Astacio (by Mark Prior)
WP - Mark Prior 2 (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Mark Prior 76-40, Glendon Rusch 38-25, Roberto Novoa 14-7, Will Ohman 10-5, Scott Eyre 3-3, Bob Howry 23-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Prior 5-3, Glendon Rusch 4-2
Batters Faced - Mark Prior 19, Glendon Rusch 10, Roberto Novoa 4, Will Ohman 2, Scott Eyre 1, Bob Howry 5
Washington Nationals
Alfonso Soriano, LF3210123 .280
Marlon Anderson, 2B4123110 .271
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3011103 .289
Nick Johnson, 1B5110016 .299
Alex Escobar, CF5022001 .415
    Melvin Dorta, PR0000000 .000
    Chad Cordero, P0000000 .000
Austin Kearns, RF-CF2010201 .269
Brian Schneider, C3110002 .232
   a- Luis Matos, PH1000003 .208
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
    Daryle Ward, RF0000000 .295
Felipe Lopez, SS4120004 .258
Pedro Astacio, P1100000 .000
    Mike Stanton, P0000000 .000
    Kevin Gryboski, P0000000 .000
    Robert Fick, C1000010 .275
Totals3271165523 
a-fouled out for Schneider in the 7th
Batting
2B - Marlon Anderson (8, Prior), Felipe Lopez (15, Prior)
SF - Ryan Zimmerman (4)
SH - Pedro Astacio (3)
RBI - Marlon Anderson 3 (16), Ryan Zimmerman (61), Alex Escobar 2 (10)
2-OUT RBI - Marlon Anderson 3 (7), Alex Escobar 2 (7)
SB - Alfonso Soriano 2 (25, 2nd base off Prior/Barrett, 3rd base off Howry/Barrett), Alex Escobar (1, 2nd base off Novoa/Barrett)
CS - Melvin Dorta (1, 2nd base by Howry/Barrett)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
E - Austin Kearns (3, misplayed ball)
Washington Nationals
Pedro Astacio 6.1633222 5.75
Mike Stanton (BS,2) 0.1111000 4.60
Kevin Gryboski 0.1222001 13.50
Jon Rauch (W,3-1) 1000010 3.32
Chad Cordero (S,15) 1000000 3.60
Pitches-Strikes - Pedro Astacio 96-62, Mike Stanton 7-5, Kevin Gryboski 13-8, Jon Rauch 10-7, Chad Cordero 16-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Pedro Astacio 5-12, Mike Stanton 1-0, Kevin Gryboski 1-0, Chad Cordero 1-2
Batters Faced - Pedro Astacio 27, Mike Stanton 2, Kevin Gryboski 3, Jon Rauch 3, Chad Cordero 3
Game Information
Attendance - 35442
Game Time - 3:18
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Rick Reed, First Base - Tim Tschida, Second Base - Ted Barrett, Third Base - Laz Diaz