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Chicago at Washington

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Washington «00230020x780

Nationals put up seven runs to complete sweep of Cubs

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- The Washington Nationals' new owners couldn't have scripted it any better.

With the fans waving their red "rally towels," Tony Armas Jr. pitched seven strong innings, Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Church homered, and the Nationals beat the Chicago Cubs 7-1 Sunday to complete their first home sweep in more than a year.

A group led by local real estate developer Ted Lerner finished paperwork on the $450 million purchase of the Nationals from Major League Baseball on Friday night, during the opener of a three-game set billed as a "Grand Re-Opening Weekend," featuring improvements to 45-year-old RFK Stadium.

An average of 34,771 fans were at the three games -- 8,000 more than what Washington was drawing this season -- and the Nationals treated them to seven runs in each game of the series, with three straight quality outings from starters.

"It never hurts to have a lot of fans out here in the stands, rooting for you, behind you. It makes you feel good, no doubt about that," manager Frank Robinson said. "But you still have to go out and perform. We did that today. It kind of gets you up before the game starts, and we carried it into the game."

So what if the opponent was the Cubs, at 37-60 one of only two NL clubs with a worse record than Washington?

Perhaps the Nationals finally have a bit of positive momentum.

"I guess you could call it 'Mr. M.' He showed up briefly," Robinson said. "He doesn't stay here very long. We hope he'll be back."

That last phrase might also be applied to Soriano, who said after the game he doesn't think he'll sign a new deal with Washington before the July 31 trading deadline. He spoke with incoming team president Stan Kasten on Thursday, but they didn't discuss contract details.

"I'm waiting to see what happens to me," he said. "I don't know what's going on."

Neither do some other Nationals players who could potentially be dealt, including Armas (7-5), who allowed only three hits and put together five 1-2-3 innings. The right-hander gave up a run, struck out three and didn't walk a batter in a reversal from his previous four outings, when he was 0-2 with a 9.72 ERA.

The difference?

"His pitch count stayed down because he was aggressive," catcher Brian Schneider said. "He was going after it and letting guys put the ball in play."

Armas retired Chicago's first eight batters until Cubs starter Carlos Marmol (3-4) singled up the middle. Juan Pierre followed with a double, but Marmol held at third, and Neifi Perez grounded out to end the threat.

Marmol bruised his pitching hand during that at-bat, and he stayed in. He already had allowed Felipe Lopez's two-run single in the third, scoring Schneider (who walked) and Soriano (who doubled).

"His hand was swollen and he couldn't grip his fastball," manager Dusty Baker said.

After Marmol walked Marlon Anderson leading off the fourth, Church drove a 91 mph pitch into the upper deck for his fifth homer of the year, making it 4-0.

"The walks all led up to big innings for them," Cubs catcher Michael Barrett said. "They did a nice job of hitting when it mattered most."

Two outs later, Soriano also drove a 91 mph offering out for his 31st homer. That gave him six hits in the past two games, all for extra bases: a homer, a triple and four doubles.

Soriano hit shots to the warning track in the first and sixth innings.

"He could have very easily hit three" homers, Robinson said.

Soriano's homered in five consecutive series -- but who knows how much longer he'll be helping the Nationals.

"We love Alfonso, we love what he does -- lots of people do. Let's face it: He's a potential MVP candidate. It goes without saying that he's a superior player," Kasten said. "But, you know, our No. 1 mission is getting to be the best team we can as soon as possible."

Notes

  • Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman dove to his right to stab Barrett's liner, turning a probable extra-base hit into an out in the second.
  • Cubs LHP Sean Marshall went on the 15-day DL a day after leaving his start with a strained ribcage muscle. RHPs David Aardsma and Michael Wuertz were recalled from Triple-A Iowa; both pitched Sunday.
  • Lee went 0-for-4 and made an error.
  • The Nationals' last sweep of a home series came June 28-30, 2005, against Pittsburgh.
 
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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Alfonso Soriano gives the increased number of fans something to roar about with his 31st homer.  (AP)
Alfonso Soriano gives the increased number of fans something to roar about with his 31st homer. (AP)

Players of the Game
Washington

A. Soriano
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Washington

T. Armas
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 1
BB 0
K 3
 
Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF4120002 .279
Neifi Perez, 2B3001014 .249
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4010000 .266
Derrek Lee, 1B4000011 .261
Jacque Jones, RF4000011 .291
Michael Barrett, C4000001 .333
Angel Pagan, LF2000100 .241
Ronny Cedeno, SS3000010 .252
Carlos Marmol, P1010000 .167
    David Aardsma, P0000000 .000
    Will Ohman, P00000001.000
   a- Todd Walker, PH1000000 .282
    Michael Wuertz, P0000000 .000
   b- John Mabry, PH1010000 .222
    Ryan Dempster, P0000000 .000
Totals31151149 
a-popped out for Ohman in the 6th
b-singled for Wuertz in the 8th
Batting
2B - Juan Pierre (20, Armas)
3B - Juan Pierre (7, Armas)
SF - Neifi Perez (3)
RBI - Neifi Perez (23)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
E - Derrek Lee (4, Misplayed grounder)
Chicago Cubs
Carlos Marmol (L,3-4) 3.2655422 4.50
David Aardsma 0.2000100 5.68
Will Ohman 0.2100020 4.10
Michael Wuertz 2120130 6.35
Ryan Dempster 1000010 4.33
WP - Carlos Marmol (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Carlos Marmol 70-36, David Aardsma 14-9, Will Ohman 14-11, Michael Wuertz 31-21, Ryan Dempster 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carlos Marmol 1-7, Michael Wuertz 3-1
Batters Faced - Carlos Marmol 20, David Aardsma 3, Will Ohman 3, Michael Wuertz 9, Ryan Dempster 3
Washington Nationals
Alfonso Soriano, LF5221010 .288
Felipe Lopez, SS5022000 .262
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3110101 .288
Nick Johnson, 1B1100310 .302
Austin Kearns, RF3010003 .270
Marlon Anderson, 2B3110101 .265
Ryan Church, CF4112024 .217
Brian Schneider, C3100123 .230
Tony J. Armas, P3000021 .100
    Saul Rivera, P0000000 .000
    Mike Stanton, P0000000 .000
   a- Daryle Ward, PH1000000 .291
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
Totals317856813 
a-flied out for Stanton in the 8th
Batting
2B - Alfonso Soriano (25, Marmol), Austin Kearns (23, Marmol)
HR - Alfonso Soriano (31, Marmol), Ryan Church (5, Marmol)
SH - Austin Kearns (1)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano (62), Felipe Lopez 2 (34), Ryan Church 2 (13)
2-OUT RBI - Alfonso Soriano (21)
SB - Ryan Zimmerman (8, 2nd base off Wuertz/Barrett)
CS - Felipe Lopez (8, 2nd base by Marmol/Barrett)
Team LOB - 7
Washington Nationals
Tony J. Armas (W,7-5) 7311030 4.35
Saul Rivera 0.1100110 5.40
Mike Stanton 0.2000000 4.53
Jon Rauch 1100000 3.24
WP - Saul Rivera (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Tony J. Armas 98-62, Saul Rivera 11-8, Mike Stanton 4-2, Jon Rauch 16-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tony J. Armas 6-12, Jon Rauch 1-2
Batters Faced - Tony J. Armas 24, Saul Rivera 3, Mike Stanton 2, Jon Rauch 4
Game Information
Attendance - 30851
Game Time - 2:37
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Ted Barrett, First Base - Laz Diaz, Second Base - Rick Reed, Third Base - Tim Tschida