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Russell, Cubs beat Nationals 8-5 for 6th straight victory


Russell, Cubs beat Nationals 8-5 for 6th straight victory

By SARAH TROTTO, Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) -- Addison Russell dropped in a tiebreaking, two-run double in the seventh inning and the Chicago Cubs beat the Washington Nationals 8-5 Saturday for their sixth straight victory.

Kris Bryant homered and Ben Zobrist had an RBI for the sixth game in a row as the Cubs took the matchup of NL division leaders.

Chicago has won 10 of 11 and improved the best record in the majors to 23-6. The Nationals have the league's second-best record but have lost three straight.

Russell finished with three RBIs. It was 5-all when the Cubs loaded the bases with two outs, and Russell hit a flyball to right that landed barely fair as outfielder Bryce Harper ran toward the brick wall in pursuit. A review confirmed the ball was fair.

Zobrist singled home a run in the eighth. He has 15 RBIs in his last six games.

Adam Warren (3-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win. Hector Rondon earned his sixth save in as many chances.

Sammy Solis (0-1) allowed two runs in the seventh.

Pinch hitter Ryan Kalish hit a two-run single in the Cubs sixth.

Ryan Zimmerman beat out a potential inning-ending double play throw to first to drive in the tying run in the seventh for Washington. Ben Revere scored after he led off with a triple. A review confirmed Zimmerman was safe.

The Cubs scored three times in the sixth for a 5-4 lead. Kalish hit a two-out, based-loaded single after Russell's RBI single.

Bryant hit his fifth homer of the season, connecting in the fourth off Gio Gonzalez.

Harper had a sacrifice fly in the third off Jason Hammel.

Hammel allowed a season-high three runs and matched a season high of four walks in five innings.

Gonzalez gave up five runs and seven hits -- both season highs -- in 5 2/3 innings. He entered the game with a 1.15 ERA, second in the NL.


Nationals: 2B Daniel Murphy and 3B Anthony Rendon were "under the weather," manager Dusty Baker said. Murphy, the NL's top hitter (.406), was out of the starting lineup while Rendon batted sixth instead of his usual No. 2 spot. Baker said he couldn't afford to rest both. Murphy pinch hit in the ninth. Stephen Drew started at second.

Cubs: C Miguel Montero (lower back tightness) will increase his hitting Sunday, manager Joe Maddon said. Maddon has no timetable for Montero's return, but he said the catcher is doing better. Montero went on the DL April 25.


RHP Tanner Roark (2-2, 2.35 ERA) will start for the Nationals in their series finale Sunday against the Cubs. RHP Jake Arrieta (6-0, 0.84) has recorded 17 consecutive victories for the longest streak by a Cubs starter in franchise history.

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.