Oh it came so close to being such a terrible 72 hours in Cubdom. Kyle Hendricks proved that Jason Hammel-itis is incurable. This time he decided to mix it up though in avoiding the customary gopher ball. Trea Turner singled to right with one out, and he moved into scoring position when Anthony Rendon was plunked. Bryce Harper hit a twisting pop fly that Bote managed to snag for the second out. Juan Soto hit a soft humpback liner into center to drive in Turner. Ryan Zimmerman grounded out to end the frame.
Anthony Rizzo drew a leadoff walk from Jeremy Hellickson, and then Hellickson retired the next 17 Cubs he faced. There is nothing more frustrating than watching an above average lineup put five consecutive zeroes on the board against Hellickson. It could have been worse as the veteran righty was just a single out away from making it six shutout innings.
In the mean time, the frustration level continued to increase. Daniel Murphy hit a groundball single to the left side to start the second. Spencer Kieboom struck out for the first out. Hellickson sacrificed Murphy into scoring position and then Eaton squirted a groundball single to through the right side to extend the Nationals lead. Hendricks struck out Turner to end the second inning.
Hendricks managed to pitch only a single clean frame, but managed to get through six frames with only surrendering the pair of runs. The Cubs finally chased Hellickson in the bottom of the sixth inning. Rizzo became the second Cub to reach base when he drew his second walk of the game. Javier Báez and Ben Zobrist each drew walks to load the bases with two outs. Sammy Solis entered the game and Jason Heyward delivered in the clutch once more this year. His single tied the game at two. David Bote was unable to extend the rally as he struck out to end the sixth.
Justin Wilson was the first Cubs reliever. Matt Adams flew out to start the seventh inning. Eaton bunted to reach with one out. Steve Cishek retired Turner and Rendon to end the inning. Schwarber singled to start the Cubs half of the inning against Solis. Greg Holland entered the game next. Contreras bunted and was called out for running inside the basepaths. The call was correct, but Maddon drew an ejection arguing the contrary. Ian Happ and Addison Russell singled back up the middle to load the bases. Rizzo drew his third walk of the game to put the Cubs ahead 3-2. Báez hit a grounder back to new Nationals pitcher Koda Glover. The Nats reliever fired home for the second out and then retired Ben Zobrist to end the seventh.
Brandon Kintzler started the eighth inning. He walked Harper and Soto to start the inning and end his afternoon. Willson Contreras picked off Soto from first base. Carl Edwards Jr. retired the next two batters to keep the Nationals off the board. Pedro Strop was given the ninth with just the single run advantage. There was little drama, and what drama was of Strop's creation. Eaton reached with two outs on Strop's error, but Strop struck out Turner swinging to end the game.
Spencer Kieboom is a fun name. And there wasn't a lot of fun throughout the game for the Cubs. At the end of the day though the Cubs put the kibosh on their one game losing streak.