CHICAGO -- Addison Russell hit a game-ending RBI double in the ninth inning, and the Chicago Cubs beat the surging Washington Nationals 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Chris Coghlan started the winning rally with a one-out single against Matt Grace(2-1). The Cubs then caught a huge break when shortstop Ian Desmond threw wide to first while trying to turn a potential double play on pinch-hitterJonathan Herrera's grounder to second.
That extended the inning, and Russell lined a 1-0 pitch beyond center fielderDenard Span's reach for the rookie's third hit of the game.
That made a winner of Hector Rondon (3-0), who worked a scoreless ninth. And it gave the Nationals their second loss in 10 games.
Chicago's Kyle Hendricks and Washington's Jordan Zimmermann each turned in dominant starts, allowing one run over seven innings.
Dexter Fowler put the Cubs in front with a leadoff homer in the first. It stayed that way until Harper led off the seventh with his National League-leading 17th homer, driving the ball to about the third row in left field.
Two more homers set the stage for Russell's hit in the ninth. Denard Span connected against Chicago reliever Pedro Strop with two out in the eighth, belting a drive to right for his second homer in as many games. But rookie Kris Bryant went deep in the bottom half.
Bryant's drive on a 3-2 pitch from Aaron Barrett went off the new videoboard in left. It was his seventh of the season and came after he flied out twice to the warning track in center.
The long balls overshadowed strong starts by Hendricks and Zimmermann.
Hendricks, coming off his first career shutout last week at San Diego, gave up four hits. He struck out four and walked two.
Zimmermann allowed six hits, struck out five and walked three, but the NL East-leading Nationals lost for just the sixth time in 26 games.
Washington had a chance to take the lead in the ninth after Yunel Escobar led off with a single against Rondon and stole second. But with two out and Wilson Ramos batting, Rondon caught him taking off for third and threw to Bryant to end the inning.
Nationals: RF Jayson Werth (bruised left wrist) rejoined the team, but managerMatt Williams is not sure when he will be activated from the disabled list. Werth, batting .208, can't swing. ... RHP Doug Fister (right forearm tightness) is scheduled to begin throwing on Wednesday. ... INF Anthony Rendon (oblique, left knee) played three innings in a simulated game and is scheduled for five more on Wednesday. He is expected to take Thursday off and being a minor league rehabilitation assignment on Friday.
Cubs: Manager Joe Maddon said OF Chris Denorfia (strained left hamstring) is "not too far off," but would not put a timetable on his return. The same goes for RHP Neil Ramirez (right shoulder inflammation) and infielders Tommy La Stella (right rib cage inflammation) and Mike Olt (hairline fracture in right wrist). "They're very vital to our success, these people," Maddon said. "There's no question."
Top free agent prizes will be on the mound with Cubs LHP Jon Lester (4-2, 3.56 ERA) and Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (5-3, 1.67 ERA) starting the finale of the three-game set. Lester is 4-0 in five starts in May after going 0-2 in April. Scherzer, the 2013 AL Cy Young Award winner, has won four straight starts.