CUBS

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East and im­me­di­ately lost its open­ing play­off se­ries. And this is the third time in that span that Wash­ing­ton bowed out with a Game 5 NLDS loss at home; that also hap­pened in 2012 against the St. Louis Car­di­nals and last year against the Dodgers.

This one was played ex­actly five years to the day af­ter the de­cider against the Car­di­nals, which the Na­tion­als lost 9-7 in Wash­ing­ton. Just like that night, the Na­tion­als started Gio Gon­za­lez. Just like that night, Wash­ing­ton raced out to an early lead (6-0 back then). And just like that night, Gon­za­lez had con­trol problems and started giv­ing back some of the edge.

“It re­ally hurts, you know, to lose like that, es­pe­cially af­ter what we went through all year long, and that was tough,” Baker said.

Homers by Daniel Mur­phy and Michael A. Tay­lor — whose grand slam off Davis backed Stephen Stras­burg’s 12-strike­out mas­ter­piece in Wash­ing­ton’s 5-0 vic­tory in Game 4 at Wrigley Field on Wed­nes­day — gave the hosts a 4-1 lead in the sec­ond against Cubs starter Kyle Hen­dricks.

But Gon­za­lez gave back two of those runs, so it was 4-3 as two-time Cy Young Award win­ner Scherzer en­tered for the fifth. He started Game 3 of this se­ries, pushed back be­cause of an in­jured right ham­string, and hadn’t come out of the bullpen since 2013 with the Detroit Tigers.

By the time Scherzer’s one in­ning was over, the Cubs had taken a 7-4 lead. They scored two earned runs and two un­earned runs, on the strength of three hits, one hit by pitch, one in­ten­tional walk, a catcher’s in­ter­fer­ence, and one very odd play.

What could have been a po­ten­tially in­ning-end­ing strike­out turned into a run, as Javier Baez swung and missed, but the ball went un­der catcher Matt Wi­eters’ glove and through his legs. When Wi­eters col­lected the ball, he threw it into right field for an er­ror, then ap­peared to ar­gue that the play should have been ruled over be­cause Baez’s fol­lowthrough car­ried the bat into the catcher’s mask.

“I mean, we didn’t play a very good game,” Baker said. “We still bat­tled till the end, and you know, we had far too many walks and they end up scor­ing in a hot mess. That was prob­a­bly one of the weird­est in­nings I’ve ever seen with the third strike and then Baez hits Wi­eters on the back­swing.”

Russell made it 8-4 in the sixth on an RBI dou­ble when left fielder Jayson Werth tried to make a slid­ing catch but whiffed. The lead was 9-6 when Wash­ing­ton got one run in the sev­enth on Harper’s sac­ri­fice fly, and one in the eighth on Tay­lor’s RBI sin­gle.

But the Na­tion­als wasted some op­por­tu­ni­ties. In the eighth, with two on and no outs, pinch-hitter Adam Lind hit into a dou­ble play. Later in that in­ning, again with two men aboard, Lo­ba­ton was nailed by Con­tr­eras’ snap throw for the third out — Lo­ba­ton was orig­i­nally ruled safe, a call that was over­turned on re­play.

In the sev­enth, Ryan Zim­mer­man was up as the goa­head run with two men on, but Davis struck him out. That was part of an 0 for 4, three-K night for the first base­man who had a resur­gent sea­son, lead­ing the Na­tion­als with 36 homers and 108 RBIs.

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