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Zimmerman's single sparks surging Nats' win over Cubs

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- After Jordan Zimmermann put the Washington Nationals in position to win on the mound, Denard Span's legs and Ryan Zimmerman's bat made sure they beat the Chicago Cubs.

Zimmerman's eighth inning single drove in Span for the go-ahead run as the surging Nationals capped a strong weekend with a 2-1 win over the Cubs on Sunday.

The expected pitcher's duel took place as Zimmermann outdueled Jake Arrieta over six innings and left with a 1-0 lead.

"The starter for them today was as advertised, tough," Zimmerman said of Arrieta. "The way Jordan pitched, that was a game we needed to win."

The Cubs tied it in the seventh on Starlin Castro's sacrifice fly against Drew Storen.

Span's hustle turned a soft hit to right field off Pedro Strop (1-4) into a double leading off the eighth. The Cubs challenged the play, but replay showed that the sliding Span avoided the tag.

"The fact that he broke out of the box hard and thought two (bases) from the beginning of it was key for us," Nationals manager Matt Williams said.

Two outs later, the Cubs intentionally walked Adam LaRoche to bring up Zimmerman, who ripped a single to left to score Span from second.

Tyler Clippard (6-2) worked out of trouble in the eighth inning. Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth and earned his 21st save for the Nationals, who have won seven of eight.

Washington moved within one-half game of NL East-leading Atlanta.

The Nationals took two of three games in the series, including 13-0 on Saturday to break Chicago's four-game winning streak.

Zimmermann allowed seven hits with one walk and struck out five. He has given up two earned runs or fewer in seven straight starts. The right-hander is 3-2 with a 1.26 ERA in that span.

"I think he found his slider," Williams said. "Gives him another weapon."

The Cubs had at least one hit in each of the first six innings, but couldn't generate a clutch one versus Zimmermann. Chicago left 12 runners on base and went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

"I fell behind hitters and wasn't able to throw first-pitch strikes," Zimmermann said. "Guys got on base, and I had to work out of a few jams. Other than that I threw the ball well."

Following this weekend's blockbuster trade that sent starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland A's, Arrieta inherited the No. 1 role in the Cubs rotation. He has pitched to that level lately.

The righty won his four previous starts and flirted with no-hitters in his last two. Arrieta carried a perfect game into the seventh inning on June 24 against Cincinnati and went 7 2-3 innings without allowing a hit at Boston on June 30.

Washington ended such hopes immediately. Span hit a fly ball that sailed over the outfielders for a double leading off the first. One out later he scored on Jayson Werth's groundout for a 1-0 lead.

Arrieta allowed four hits and one run over six innings with three walks and five strikeouts. He gave up two singles to open the fifth, but escaped the jam. Zimmermann struck out while attempting to bunt the runner over.

"It was a dogfight," Arrieta said. "I really had to grind it out there. I had guys on base. I had to make pitches in big situations. I was able to do that."

Storen entered having allowed only three earned runs this season and only one in 17 appearances since May 17.

The Cubs threatened in the eighth, putting runners at second and third with one out against Clippard, but didn't score. Wellington Castillo struck out looking, and Ryan Sweeney grounded out.

Justin Ruggiano, Anthony Rizzo, and John Baker all had two hits for the Cubs.

Notes

The Cubs recalled RHP Blake Parker from Triple-A Iowa before the game. Parker takes the roster spot created by the trade with Oakland. ... Chicago hasn't announced who will replace Samardzija and Hammel when their rotation spots come up Wednesday and Thursday. Edwin Jackson (5-8, 4.99) will open the five-game series at Cincinnati on Monday against fellow RHP Mike Leake (6-7, 3.47). ... Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (7-6, 3.53) will face RHP Chris Tillman (7-4, 4.21) on Monday when Baltimore visits Washington.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Ryan Zimmerman's eighth-inning single drives in the go-ahead run for the Nationals against the Cubs. (USATSI)
Ryan Zimmerman's eighth-inning single drives in the go-ahead run for the Nationals against the Cubs. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Washington

D. Span
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
Washington

J. Zimmermann
IP 6.0
H 7
ER 0
BB 1
K 5
 
Chicago (N.L.) Cubs
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ryan Sweeney, LF4010002 .214
Justin Ruggiano, CF4020111 .286
Anthony Rizzo, 1B5020012 .276
Starlin Castro, SS4001003 .287
Luis Valbuena, 3B4000014 .256
Nate Schierholtz, RF4010020 .212
John Baker, C2020200 .200
Darwin Barney, 2B3010002 .219
Jake Arrieta, P2000013 .167
   a-Chris Coghlan, PH1110000 .229
   Brian Schlitter, P00000001.000
   b-Welington Castillo, PH1000012 .237
   Pedro Strop, P0000000 .000
Totals34110137  
a-singled for Arrieta in the 7th
b-struck out for Schlitter in the 8th
Batting
2B - Justin Ruggiano (10, Zimmermann)
SF - Starlin Castro (1)
SH - Ryan Sweeney (2), Darwin Barney (2)
RBI - Starlin Castro (51)
SB - Nate Schierholtz (4, 2nd base off Clippard/Ramos)
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Ryan Sweeney 1
DP - Barney-Rizzo, Barney-Rizzo-Castro-Rizzo
Chicago (N.L.) Cubs
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jake Arrieta 6411350 1.78
Brian Schlitter 1100000 2.50
Pedro Strop (L,1-4) 1211110 3.03
IBB - LaRoche by Pedro Strop
WP - Jake Arrieta (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Arrieta 90-57, Brian Schlitter 13-9, Pedro Strop 19-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Arrieta 9-3, Brian Schlitter 1-1
Batters Faced - Jake Arrieta 24, Brian Schlitter 3, Pedro Strop 5
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Denard Span, CF4220001 .268
Anthony Rendon, 2B4000004 .282
Jayson Werth, RF3001121 .280
Adam LaRoche, 1B2000200 .294
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3011112 .273
Bryce Harper, LF3000022 .269
Ian Desmond, SS3020000 .243
Wilson Ramos, C3020001 .289
Jordan Zimmermann, P2000012 .207
   Drew Storen, P0000000 .000
   Jerry Blevins, P0000000 .000
   a-Scott Hairston, PH1000001 .278
   Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
   Rafael Soriano, P0000000 .000
Totals2827246  
a-grounded into a double play for Blevins in the 7th
Batting
2B - Denard Span 2 (28, Arrieta)
RBI - Jayson Werth (44), Ryan Zimmerman (25)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Zimmerman (10)
Team LOB - 6
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jordan Zimmermann 6700150 2.79
Drew Storen (BS,2) 0.2211100 1.33
Jerry Blevins 0.1000010 4.99
Tyler Clippard (W,6-2) 1100110 1.89
Rafael Soriano (S,21) 1000000 1.03
Pitches-Strikes - Jordan Zimmermann 105-76, Drew Storen 19-10, Jerry Blevins 5-3, Tyler Clippard 25-14, Rafael Soriano 8-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jordan Zimmermann 6-7, Drew Storen 1-1, Tyler Clippard 2-0, Rafael Soriano 2-1
Batters Faced - Jordan Zimmermann 26, Drew Storen 5, Jerry Blevins 1, Tyler Clippard 5, Rafael Soriano 3
Game Information
Attendance - 32941
Game Time - 3:12
Temperature - 85
Umpires - Home - Mike Everitt, First Base - Paul Schrieber, Second Base - Ted Barrett, Third Base - Will Little