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Nationals lose tough one on walk-off vs. Cubs

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Nationals lose tough one on walk-off vs. Cubs

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.

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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.

TRAINER'S ROOM:

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."

UP NEXT

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.

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May the odds be ever in your favor: Vegas sets over/unders for 2018 MLB season

May the odds be ever in your favor: Vegas sets over/unders for 2018 MLB season

The start of spring training is a glimmer of hope during the cold of winter. It means warm weather, cold beers and hot dogs at the ballpark are coming your way.

It's our first chance to get a taste of how our favorite team is shaping up for the 2018 season, and for those who are not quite into just the game itself, betting odds.

CG Technology, a Las Vegas sportsbook operator, has set the 2018 odds for each MLB team.

Specifically, how are things looking for the local teams?

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Washington Nationals: 91 1/2 wins

The 2018 season is looked at by many as the last World Series run for some time for the Nationals and their core group of players. Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Gio Gonzalez will become free agents after the 2018 season in addition to general manager and President of Baseball Operations, Mike Rizzo.

In 2017, the team won 97 games and went on to win the NL East, but couldn't make it past the first-round of the National League Division Series. In 2018, Vegas is giving the Nats 7/2 odds of taking the National League title. They are just behind the Chicago Cubs, who knocked them out of contention last season, at 4/1 odds.

As far as winning the World Series, Vegas is giving the guys an 8/1 chance of their first title, tied with the Cubs.

Baltimore Orioles: 77 1/2 wins

The O's finished the 2017 season with 75 wins, which could be considered somewhat of an accomplishment considering their pitching resources.

The same problem will occur in 2018 as the organization hasn't signed any new starting pitchers. Vegas is giving them 50/1 odds of taking the American League title and 100/1 odds of winning the World Series.

The lack of depth in their rotation will come back to bite them as division rival New York Yankees have 5/1 odds of winning the World Series and the Red Sox have 10/1 odds.

A below average season should be expected.

A few other standouts, good and bad, include the Miami Marlins at 500/1 odds of winning the World Series, the Kansas City Royals at 200/1 and current champions, the Houston Astros, at 6/1 odds.

RELATED: FORMER NATS PITCHER ARRESTED WITH MORE THAN 40 POUNDS OF SUSPECTED COCAINE

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Former Nationals pitcher Esteban Loaiza arrested with more than 40 pounds of suspected cocaine

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Former Nationals pitcher Esteban Loaiza arrested with more than 40 pounds of suspected cocaine

SAN DIEGO — Former All-Star pitcher Esteban Loaiza has been arrested on suspicion of trafficking drugs after packages containing a white powder believed to be cocaine were found at a home he rented in Southern California, officials said Monday.

The 46-year-old former Major League Baseball player was booked Friday on charges involving the possession, transport and sale of 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of suspected cocaine worth an estimated $500,000, according to the San Diego Sheriff's Department.

Loaiza played for numerous teams between 1995 and 2008, starting with the Pittsburgh Pirates and concluding with his second stint with the Chicago White Sox. He had a 21-9 record with the Chicago White Sox in 2003 and started in the All-Star Game that year.

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He also played one season for the Washington Nationals in 2005 — the team's inaugural season in D.C. after the franchise changed from the Montreal Expos. During his one season in Washington, Loaiza finished with a 12-10 record adn a 3.77 ERA over 34 games played that year.

It was not immediately known if Loaiza had hired a lawyer and the former player could not be reached to comment. He was being held Monday for lack of $200,000 bail pending a court appearance on Wednesday.

Loaiza's agent, John Boggs, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he had no information about the arrest and that he has not spoken to Loaiza recently. He said that Loaiza had called his office early last week but Boggs was unavailable at the time.

"I am shocked and saddened by the news and had no indication he would ever be in this type of situation," Boggs said in a text to the newspaper. "I don't know how he would get himself involved in this, so it's difficult to even comment on it."

Officers stopped Loaiza for a minor traffic infraction Friday after he left the home he started renting recently in the Pacific coast community of Imperial Beach, along the U.S.-Mexico border. Authorities had the vehicle under surveillance on suspicion it was used for smuggling drugs.

When they searched the vehicle, they found a sophisticated compartment used to conceal contraband, authorities said. That led them to obtain a search warrant for Loaiza's rental home, where they found the packages of drugs, according to investigators.

The packages containing a white powder are still being tested but are believed to be cocaine, said San Diego Sheriff's Lt. Jason Vickery.

Loaiza was born in Tijuana, Mexico and was married for two years to the late Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera. She filed for divorce shortly before she died in a plane crash in 2012.

The 43-year-old Rivera was known as the "Diva de la Banda" and died as her career was peaking. She was perhaps the most successful female singer in grupero, a male-dominated Mexico regional style, sold more than 15 million records, and moved into acting and reality television.

Loaiza sued the aircraft's owners in 2014 for wrongful death but her relatives accused him of trying to profit from her death. He denied the accusations and later retracted his lawsuit.

NBC Sports Washington contributed to this report.

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