POWER LIFTER

Wi­eters’ grand slam gives Na­tion­als the win over Cubs

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY JAY CO­HEN

CHICAGO | In a span of two pitches, the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als turned what could’ve been a tight loss into an up­lift­ing win.

Bryce Harper and com­pany are one dan­ger­ous bunch on the road.

Matt Wi­eters hit a tiebreak­ing grand slam off Carl Ed­wards Jr. in Wash­ing­ton’s five-run eighth in­ning, help­ing the Na­tion­als beat the Chicago Cubs 9-4 on Sun­day.

“We’re kind of a MASH unit out there but ev­ery­body is con­tribut­ing,” Wash­ing­ton man­ager Dusty Baker said. “That helps a lot when you can take two out of three with­out your top starters . ... That was a big game for us to win.”

Harper started the go-ahead rally with a one-out in­field sin­gle against Mike Mont­gomery. Ryan Zim­mer­man dou­bled against Ed­wards (3-3) and Daniel Mur­phy was walked in­ten­tion­ally to load the bases.

Ed­wards’ next pitch hit An­thony Ren­don, ty­ing it at 4, and Wi­eters fol­lowed with a drive over the wall in cen­ter for his third ca­reer grand slam.

“It was a first-pitch break­ing ball, but out of his hands I rec­og­nized it up and it was some­thing that I felt like I could get in the air and it just hap­pened to carry it out,” Wi­eters said.

Ed­wards (3-3) has al­lowed at least one

run in each of his last three ap­pear­ances.

“We just got to get him back to be­ing nor­mal be­cause he’s a re­ally big part of our suc­cess,” man­ager Joe Mad­don said.

Wi­eters tied a ca­reer high with five RBIs and Ren­don also had a run-scor­ing dou­ble for NL East-lead­ing Wash­ing­ton, which im­proved to 36-22 on the road. Brian Good­win home­red, drove in two runs and robbed Jon Jay of a hit with a ter­rific div­ing catch on a sink­ing liner to cen­ter in the sev­enth.

The Na­tion­als (65-44) faced the Cubs with­out their three best start­ing pitch­ers. Max Scherzer was pushed back after he left his pre­vi­ous start with neck spasms. Gio Gon­za­lez is on the pa­ter­nity list, and Stephen Stras­burg is on the 10-day disabled list with a right el­bow in­jury.

“I know we didn’t face their big guys, but we’ve beat good pitch­ing be­fore,” said Cubs ace Jon Lester, who al­lowed three runs in 62⁄3 in­nings. “I don’t think we’re re­ally too wor­ried. It’s just a mat­ter of ex­e­cut­ing a lit­tle bit bet­ter.”

Will­son Con­tr­eras hit two more home runs for Chicago (58-52), which stayed a half-game ahead of sec­ond­place Mil­wau­kee in the NL Cen­tral. The Cubs closed out a 2-4 home­s­tand against NL con­tenders Ari­zona and Wash­ing­ton be­fore pulling on leather vests and ban­dan­nas for their “Easy Rider”-themed six-game road trip out west.

“It doesn’t count for the team. We still lose the game,” Con­tr­eras said. “I mean I don’t care if I hit two homers.”

Con­tr­eras led off the fourth with a drive to the back of the bleach­ers in left for his 20th homer. He con­nected again in the sixth, and Kyle Sch­war­ber fol­lowed with an­other homer off rookie Erick Fedde for a 4-1 lead.

The 25-year-old Con­tr­eras is bat­ting .346 (27 for 78) with 10 homers and 29 RBIs in 20 games since the All-Star break. He went deep five times in the last four games of the home­s­tand. But that was it for Chicago, which couldn’t get any­thing go­ing against Wash­ing­ton’s bullpen after Fedde lasted 51⁄3 in­nings in his sec­ond ma­jor league start. Bran­don Kint­zler (3-2) pitched a score­less in­ning for his first win since he was ac­quired in a trade with Min­nesota.

Cubs out­fielder Ja­son Hey­ward dou­bled in the eighth for his 1,000th ca­reer hit. He went 3 for 4.

Cubs short­stop Ad­di­son Rus­sell (strained right foot) thinks he will be able to re­turn when he is el­i­gi­ble to come off the 10-day disabled list next Sun­day. “It’s some­thing where I feel like I could try and play through, but re­ally all it takes is just one kind of play to make it worse than what it al­ready is,” he said. “So tak­ing the pre­cau­tions and do­ing the treat­ment now.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als catcher Matt Wi­eters (right) cel­e­brates with An­thony Ren­don and Daniel Mur­phy after hit­ting a tie-break­ing grand slam in the eighth in­ning of a 9-4 win on Sun­day over the Chicago Cubs. It was the third ca­reer grand slam for Wi­eters, who tied a ca­reer-high with five RBIs.

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