Cubs lose in extra inning heartbreaker


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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

A wild and crazy marathon baseball game broke out between the Nationals and the Cubs on Wednesday evening. Young phenom Stephen Strasburg and the Cubs veteran Jason Hammel pitched impressively but the Cubs' bullpen faltered in the Nationals 5-4 victory in twelve innings.

The largest crowd of the season at 42,000 at Nationals Park were able to see two of the top National League teams battle in a playoff-like atmosphere in the middle of June. The Cubs are now 5-2 this season against the Nationals and 7-2 in their last nine meetings.

Hammel went seven strong innings scattering five hits, one run, no walks, and four strikeouts to lower his ERA to an impressive 2.26 and set down 17 of the final 19 batters he faced. He also had a single in one of his at-bats which tied him with Jake Arrieta with eight hits among Cubs pitchers.

Strasburg finished with a similar pitching line going seven innings giving up six hits, one run, one walk and eight strikeouts.

Ben Zobrist made Joe Maddon look like a certified genius as he was inserted into the leadoff role and he promptly hit his second career leadoff homer on a line drive to right field to put the Cubs up 1-0.

Rookie outfielder Albert Almora Jr. had a double with one out in the seventh but the Cubs could not cash it in as Strasburg struck out Addison Russell to end the inning.

Stephen Drew hits a solo homer off of Cubs reliever Pedro Strop, which was the ninth pinch-hit homer of the year for the Nationals to put the Nationals up 2-1.

Kris Bryant hit a lead-off double to start the ninth inning, and Rizzo's two-run 401-foot bomb into the Nationals' bullpen supplanted the apparent win for the Cubs with the score of 3-2. It was the fourth homer of the year by Rizzo off of left-handed pitching. Remarkably, it is Rizzo's first go-ahead home run in the 9th inning or later with his team trailing according to ESPN Stats.

Cubs closer Hector Rondon pitched the ninth inning and gave up an RBI single to Ramos to tie the game at 3-3. It was his second straight blown save after previously being 11 for 11 in save opportunities this season.

Addison Russell singled in Albert Almora Jr. in the 12th inning to put the Cubs up 4-3. It was his first career extra-inning RBI.

However, outfielder Jayson Werth got the game-winning hit in the twelveth inning off of Cubs reliever Adam Warren as the Nationals won two out of three from the Cubs.

Thursday is an off-day for the Cubs, but they will begin an important three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon at 1:20 p.m. CT.

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