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Strasburg dominates, Nats top Cubs

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Stephen Strasburg could hardly wait for this one.

His first opener, at Wrigley Field for the first time.

"Just to think about all the Hall of Famers who have played here, it's an honor," he said.

It's even better on days like this.

Strasburg dominated the Cubs for seven innings, and Ian Desmond singled in the go-ahead run in the ninth on a windy Thursday to give the Washington Nationals a 2-1 win over Chicago.

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Strasburg allowed one run and five hits, including an RBI single to Marlon Byrd in the fourth. He was pinch hit for in the eighth, when Kerry Wood forced in the tying run with three straight walks, and did not figure in the decision.

Washington went ahead in the ninth when Chad Tracy hit a two-out double off the right-field wall against Carlos Marmol (0-1), and Desmond followed with his third hit.

Strasburg struck out five and walked one. He reached 98 mph when he struck out Starlin Castro in the sixth.

Ryan Dempster, making his fourth opening start, was just as dominant, striking out 10 in 7 2/3 innings.

Chicago started its first season since Theo Epstein was hired away from Boston in hopes of helping the Cubs win their first World Series title since 1908.

Tyler Clippard (1-0) worked a scoreless eighth to win in relief. Brad Lidge gave up one-out triple off the right-field wall by Ian Stewart in the ninth but got the save in his Nationals debut when pinch-runner Joe Mather was thrown out trying to score on a grounder to third and Byrd ended the game by taking a called third strike.

"The tone has been set," Desmond said. "When we came to spring training, we were all itching to get there. When we all showed up early, that set the tone. We've been chomping at the bit to get out there. It was definitely exciting."

Dempster allowed a single by Desmond on the game's first pitch, then didn't allow another hit until Desmond singled with one out in the eighth. Dempster left to a standing ovation after striking out Danny Espinosa, but the cheers quickly faded,

Wood came on and walked Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and then Jayson Werth on a 3-2 pitch after getting ahead 0-2, sending a loud groan through the ballpark.

"There were a couple that could have gone either way," Wood said.

The big question for the Cubs is where they go from here.

Optimism isn't hard to find around Wrigleyville these days even if the anticipation is more for what happens down the road than this season. The arrival of Epstein along with new general manager Jed Hoyer sparked hope among championship-starved fans, and the newcomers have certainly have been busy. They hired Dale Sveum to replace Mike Quade as manager, traded the troubled Carlos Zambrano to Miami and parted ways with slugger Aramis Ramirez.

They've made it clear they intend to stock the farm system while trying to remain competitive now. That might be a stretch for a team in transition even if there's new hope at the moment.

"There are dozens and dozens and dozens of people - the players first of all - working extremely hard to bring this organization forward," Epstein said.

Notes

  • Noted Cubs fan Bill Murray had some fun before the game. He ran around the bases and threw the ball to Wood at home before sliding across the plate. He then bounced the ceremonial first pitch. Murray also said the Cubs would win every game before leading the seventh-inning rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game."
  • The Cubs held 1B Bryan LaHair out of the starting lineup because of a minor nerve issue in his back that's been bothering him the past few days. Jeff Baker started in his place. LaHair thinks he will be available off the bench Saturday and back in the lineup on Sunday.
  • Matt Garza is scheduled to start Saturday for the Cubs against Gio Gonzalez.
  • Nationals RHP Chien-Ming Wang (hamstring) and RHP Drew Storen (elbow) flew to Florida on Thursday to begin rehab at the spring training complex. Storen is already throwing off of the mound and Wang is 3-4 days away, manager Davey Johnson said. He expects them to be activated by the end of April.
 
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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Stephen Strasburg takes a no-decision, but is impressive with five strikeouts over seven innings.  (US Presswire)
Stephen Strasburg takes a no-decision, but is impressive with five strikeouts over seven innings. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
Washington

I. Desmond
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
Chicago

R. Dempster
IP 7.2
H 2
ER 1
BB 3
K 10
 
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ian Desmond, SS5131010 .600
Danny Espinosa, 2B3000212 .000
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B2000200 .000
Adam LaRoche, 1B3000135 .000
    Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
Jayson Werth, RF3001115 .000
Mark DeRosa, LF-1B4000003 .000
Roger Bernadina, CF-LF4000020 .000
Wilson Ramos, C4000010 .000
Stephen Strasburg, P2000000 .000
   a- Chad Tracy, PH-1B2010010 .500
    Brett Carroll, PR-CF0100000 .000
Totals32242610  
a-struck out for Strasburg in the 8th
Batting
2B - Chad Tracy (1, Marmol)
RBI - Ian Desmond (1), Jayson Werth (1)
2-OUT RBI - Ian Desmond (1), Jayson Werth (1)
SB - Ian Desmond (1, 2nd base off Wood/Soto)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Zimmerman-Espinosa-LaRoche
E - Danny Espinosa (1, Misplayed grounder)
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Stephen Strasburg 7511150 1.29
Tyler Clippard (W,1-0) 1000000 0.00
Brad Lidge (S,1) 1100020 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Stephen Strasburg 82-58, Tyler Clippard 14-10, Brad Lidge 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Stephen Strasburg 7-8, Tyler Clippard 2-2, Brad Lidge 1-0
Batters Faced - Stephen Strasburg 26, Tyler Clippard 4, Brad Lidge 4
Chicago Cubs
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
David DeJesus, RF4010010 .250
Darwin Barney, 2B4000002 .000
Starlin Castro, SS4010011 .250
Alfonso Soriano, LF3010001 .333
    Reed Johnson, LF1000010 .000
Ian Stewart, 3B4110010 .250
    Joe Mather, PR0000000 .000
Jeff Baker, 1B3010100 .333
Marlon Byrd, CF4011022 .250
Geovany Soto, C3000002 .000
Ryan Dempster, P2000010 .000
    Kerry Wood, P0000000 .000
   a- Blake DeWitt, PH1000000 .000
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
Totals3316117  
a-flied out for Wood in the 8th
Batting
3B - Ian Stewart (1, Lidge)
RBI - Marlon Byrd (1)
2-OUT RBI - Marlon Byrd (1)
CS - Alfonso Soriano (1, 3rd base by Strasburg/Ramos)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Ian Stewart (1, Misplayed grounder)
Chicago Cubs
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Ryan Dempster 7.22113100 1.17
Kerry Wood (BS,1) 0.1000300 0.00
Carlos Marmol (L,0-1) 1211000 9.00
WP - Kerry Wood (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Ryan Dempster 108-73, Kerry Wood 25-12, Carlos Marmol 16-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ryan Dempster 7-7, Kerry Wood 1-0, Carlos Marmol 1-2
Batters Faced - Ryan Dempster 29, Kerry Wood 4, Carlos Marmol 5
Game Information
Attendance - 41176
Game Time - 2:35
Temperature - 51
Umpires - Home - Dana DeMuth, First Base - Kerwin Danley, Second Base - Doug Eddings, Third Base - Paul Nauert