Nationals, rain wreak havoc with Cubs
WASHINGTON -- After finishing a doubleheader that ended after midnight, the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals will play the finale of their four-game series on Sunday at Nationals Park.
Rain has plagued this series since Friday's rainout and more is forecast for Sunday.
On Saturday, the Nationals swept an old-fashioned one admission doubleheader by the scores of 10-3 and 6-5. The start of Game 1 was delayed two hours and 10 minutes by rain and Game 2 was delayed 89 minutes in the middle of the eighth inning.
"It was nasty. It's nasty for both teams," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said of the long day and night that ended at 1:44 Sunday morning. "We're pretty much at the mercy of the league and the rain, really. I'm proud of the guys just sticking in there and finishing the job."
Bryce Harper hit a two-run homer as part of three-run seventh inning as the Nationals rallied past the Cubs for the sweep. Anthony Rendon had two hits, including a homer, and Adrian Sanchez had a double, triple and two RBIs.
Washington (71-72) rallied against the usually dependable Chicago bullpen.
"We got on top, we had a nice lead, Cole (Hamels) was pitching well and all of sudden they just rallied from behind," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "We had the right pitchers lined up, they were rested, and (the Nationals) got us. They absolutely got us."
Victor Caratini hit his first career grand slam for Chicago.
Max Scherzer pitched a complete game and Washington took advantage of the sloppy Cubs in a 10-3 victory in the opener.
Martinez visited Scherzer on the mound after the Cubs scored twice in the ninth but left Scherzer in to get the final two outs.
"He asked me what I wanted to do. I said I wanted to finish it," Scherzer said, noting the 66-degre game-time temperature. "We've been playing some hot games and for the weather to cool off you just felt like you had unlimited energy. And for me, I still had plenty in the tank."
Washington, which had just six hits, capitalized on nine walks and three errors from the Cubs. The Nationals scored five runs in the sixth inning on just two hits thanks to two errors and a wild pitch that resulted in a run.
Chicago (83-59) saw its lead in the NL Central shrink to 2 1/2 games over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Chicago left-hander Mike Montgomery (4-5, 3.76 ERA) opposes right-hander Erick Fedde (1-3, 6.00) in Sunday's finale, weather permitting.
In Montgomery's last outing, he allowed two runs in four innings at Milwaukee. He's 4-4 with a 3.43 ERA in 15 starts this season.
Montgomery has made two career relief appearances against Washington, but this will be his first start against the Nationals.
Fedde, one of Washington's top pitching prospects, makes his eighth start of the season. Last time out he gave up four runs in five innings of a no-decision versus the St. Louis Cardinals. He struck out seven and walked two.
Fedde was solid other than a four-run St. Louis second.
"I think just that second inning got away from me a little bit," he told MLB.com. "I started getting a little slider happy with some of the guys that came up, and I think I just let it take over."
He has made one start against the Cubs, allowing four runs in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision last season.
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