Chicago at Washington

Chi. Cubs
W: R. Mattheus (2-0) L: K. Wood (1-4)
S: D. Storen (22)
HR: CHC - C. Pena (18),A. Ramirez (14)   WAS - D. Espinosa (16),R. Zimmerman (4)

Nationals 5, Cubs 4 wire reports

WASHINGTON -- Davey Johnson sported a bloody mark on the left side of his forehead, the result of hitting his head on a shelf when he was about to get in his car in the morning to escape a houseful of company.

The impact must have rattled him quite a bit. By the end of the day, the Washington Nationals manager who usually disdains small-ball called for a suicide squeeze. Not once, but twice. Two pitches apart. With the same batter at the plate.

"I must be brain-dead," Johnson said. "I don't think I've ever squeezed. I don't really like to bunt that much."

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Wilson Ramos missed the sign the first time and swung away, fouling the ball off as Michael Morse covered his head while charging in from third. Ramos got the message the second time, bunting home Morse for the decisive run in the seventh inning of Wednesday night's 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs.

"Man, it was scary," Morse said. "But you know what? In the end, it worked out. He got the bunt down."

Added Ramos: "After he scored, he did 'You did good, you did good.' But I almost killed him."

The squeeze off Kerry Wood (1-4) decided a game of two-run homers. Danny Espinosa and Ryan Zimmerman each had one for the Nationals, and Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez did the same for the Cubs.

The Nationals continue to take all their victories down to the wire. Each of their last 10 wins has been by either one run or in extra innings, and they are 13-3 in one-run games since June 1.

"It seems like all we play around here is tight, interesting ballgames," Johnson said.

Ryan Mattheus (2-0) pitched one inning to get his second major-league win -- and second in five days. Henry Rodriguez and Drew Storen (22nd save) completed another shutout effort from the bullpen.

Washington has won three straight and will go for the sweep on Thursday. The club improved to 5-5 under Johnson, who nevertheless remains perplexed by his team's stinginess with clutch hits. Washington stranded runners in scoring position in each of the first six innings and finished 1 for 16 with runners in scoring position.

It's his team's inability to produce the big inning that had him signaling for the squeeze, even though he couldn't recollect ever calling for one in his 15 seasons as a big league manager.

"You've got to open up the Cracker Jack box," he said.

Everyone was surprised by what he pulled out, especially the Cubs.

"I thought it was kind of a gutsy call ... especially off a guy that couldn't throw strikes here tonight as badly as I was off," Wood said. "But it worked out for them, and they got the `W."'

Zimmerman, showing signs of breaking out of a post-injury slump, had two doubles along with his fourth homer, giving him his first three-hit game of the year. He has five hits in his last two games and is now batting .218 since returning from abdominal surgery on June 14.

Struggling Nationals slugger Jayson Werth, who is quickly becoming a sideshow all to himself, was moved down to No. 6 in the lineup for the first time this season and had another rough night. He went 0 for 4 to lower his batting average to .218 and heard a hearty round of boos after his popout to shortstop with men and second and third with none out in the fifth.

Werth heard more jeers after misplaying Starlin Castro's double to right to lead off the sixth. The miscue proved costly when the next batter, Ramirez, hit one out to straightaway center to tie at 4. As the ball sailed over the fence, Werth leaned forward dejectedly with hands on knees, remaining that way until the next hitter was announced.

Werth did get a decent hand when he flew out in the seventh, driving the ball deep enough for Morse to advance from second to third to set up the squeeze.

"He's in a little funk right now," Johnson said. "But I think he'll come out of it."


Espinosa's home run was his 16th, the most among second baseman in the majors as well as the most among all rookies. ... Nationals RHP Cole Kimball, on the 15-day disabled list, will be in New York on Friday to see another doctor about the inflammation in his throwing shoulder. ... The Cubs will decide Thursday whether RHP Ryan Dempster can make his scheduled start on Saturday. Dempster was hospitalized over the weekend with back pain and missed his start Monday. ... RHP Ramon Ortiz, who had a respectable outing in his Cubs debut Tuesday, will stay in the rotation for now and pitch again Sunday.

Copyright 2017 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

R. Zimmerman
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1

A. Ramirez
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

Related Video

Chicago Cubs
Reed Johnson, RF4020020 .333
Starlin Castro, SS4110012 .307
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4112012 .294
Geovany Soto, C4110012 .230
Carlos Pena, 1B4112020 .225
Marlon Byrd, CF4000020 .296
Alfonso Soriano, LF3010100 .260
Darwin Barney, 2B2010000 .290
Randy Wells, P2000011 .143
    Chris Carpenter, P0000000 .000
   a- Blake DeWitt, PH1000001 .261
    Kerry Wood, P0000000 .000
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
a-lined out for Carpenter in the 7th
2B - Starlin Castro (22, Gorzelanny)
HR - Aramis Ramirez (14, Gorzelanny), Carlos Pena (18, Gorzelanny)
SH - Darwin Barney (4)
RBI - Aramis Ramirez 2 (48), Carlos Pena 2 (46)
SB - Reed Johnson (2, 2nd base off Gorzelanny/Ramos)
CS - Alfonso Soriano (1, 2nd base by Gorzelanny/Ramos)
Team LOB - 3
Outfield Assists - Marlon Byrd 1
E - Darwin Barney (7, Misplayed grounder)
Chicago Cubs
Randy Wells 41044152 6.80
Chris Carpenter 2100130 3.12
Kerry Wood (L,1-4) 1111010 2.63
John Grabow 1100110 5.25
IBB - Desmond by Chris Carpenter, Zimmerman by John Grabow
WP - Chris Carpenter (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Randy Wells 89-53, Chris Carpenter 40-26, Kerry Wood 16-10, John Grabow 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randy Wells 4-3, Chris Carpenter 2-1, Kerry Wood 1-1, John Grabow 2-0
Batters Faced - Randy Wells 23, Chris Carpenter 8, Kerry Wood 4, John Grabow 5
Washington Nationals
Roger Bernadina, CF-LF5120023 .261
Danny Espinosa, 2B4212121 .247
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4132101 .252
Laynce Nix, LF4010023 .279
    Ryan Mattheus, P0000000 .000
    Henry Rodriguez, P0000000 .000
   a- Ivan Rodriguez, PH1000002 .214
    Drew Storen, P0000000 .000
Michael Morse, 1B4120002 .301
Jayson Werth, RF4000014 .218
Wilson Ramos, C3021012 .254
Ian Desmond, SS3010111 .216
Tom Gorzelanny, P2010013 .045
    Rick Ankiel, CF1000000 .234
a-grounded out for Rodriguez in the 8th
2B - Ryan Zimmerman 2 (6, R. Wells, Carpenter), Michael Morse (16, Wood)
HR - Danny Espinosa (16, R. Wells), Ryan Zimmerman (4, R. Wells)
SH - Wilson Ramos (2), Tom Gorzelanny (3)
RBI - Danny Espinosa 2 (50), Ryan Zimmerman 2 (15), Wilson Ramos (27)
SB - Roger Bernadina (12, 2nd base off R. Wells/Soto), Danny Espinosa (10, 2nd base off R. Wells/Soto)
Team LOB - 11
DP - Desmond
Washington Nationals
Tom Gorzelanny 6744062 3.94
Ryan Mattheus (W,2-0) 1000100 1.59
Henry Rodriguez (H,5) 1100030 1.91
Drew Storen (S,22) 1000010 2.58
WP - Henry Rodriguez (7)
Pitches-Strikes - Tom Gorzelanny 82-58, Ryan Mattheus 9-2, Henry Rodriguez 19-14, Drew Storen 9-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tom Gorzelanny 4-7, Ryan Mattheus 1-1, Drew Storen 1-1
Batters Faced - Tom Gorzelanny 24, Ryan Mattheus 3, Henry Rodriguez 4, Drew Storen 3
Game Information
Attendance - 19631
Game Time - 2:54
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Chris Guccione, First Base - Mike Muchlinski, Second Base - Mike Winters, Third Base - Mike Everitt