First this is the second time I've written this recap. Technology has failed me once again more than two thirds of the way through this recap. So here is your belated recap and my second attempt.
The Cubs traveled to Washington in the middle of their extended homestand. It was a success in the most important senses with a victory. The Cubs held onto their two game edge in the loss column for another day, and the magic numbers continue to drop.
The game started out a pitcher's duel between Joe Ross and Mike Montgomery. Mike Montgomery did no allow a single hit in the game until the bottom of the third inning. Unfortunately it was a Spencer Kieboom home run to center with one out. Monty recovered to retire the Nats with no further damage.
Joe Ross surrendered his first hit in the first at bat of the game to Anthony Rizzo, but he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double at second. Ross hit a batter and would walk a batter, but the Cubs never managed to place a runner in scoring position until the fourth inning. Kris Bryant led off the inning with a single that floated safely into shallow right against the shift. Noted lifestyles expert Daniel Murphy continued his slump with a flyball out to center, but the Cubs MVP candidate doubled into right. The ball bounced off the wall and kicked away from hopefully future Cub Bryce Harper, and that allowed Bryant to score easily. Victor Caratini bouncced a ball back up the middle to drive in Báez to put the Cubs ahead.
Montgomery and Ross each pitched a scoreless frame working around a walk. Montgomery started the fifth inning with a 2-1 lead but Adrián Sánchez singled to start the inning. Joe Maddon made a number of interesting decisions in this one, and it started by removing Monty at this point after just 62 pitches. The dependable Jesse Chavez retired Kieboom to start his afternoon. Pinch hitter Andrew Stevenson ripped a single into center to move Sánchez to third, and he would score on Víctor Robles sacrifice fly. Chavez struck out Turner to keep the game level at 2.
Tim Collins was the first reliever Davey Martinez turned to, and he struck out noted contact specialist Daniel Murphy who seems to not be making as much contact. Jimmy Cordero came in to face Javier Báez, and the Cubs star managed to untie the game with a single swing. Cordero retired the next five Cubs he faced to keep the Cubs locked at three runs through the seventh inning.
Jorge de la Rosa pitched the bottom of the sixth for the Cubs. It started out promisingly as he struck out both Harper and Anthony Rendon for two outs. Juan Soto started the two out rally with a single. Steve Cishek entered the game and he continued to struggle a little. Ryan Zimmerman walked to put the tying run in scoring position, but Wilmer Difo flew out to end the inning.
Carl Edwards Jr. was given the seventh in the quest to find his command once again. Edwards retired two Nats quickly, but that final out proved elusive once again. Robles drew a walk on the 3-2 pitch and advanced on a wild pitch. Trea Turner fought an eleven pitch against the slender flame thrower, but won the battle hitting a high fastball for a game tying double. Justin Wilson retired Rendon.
Mark Grace entered the game to face the greatest leadoff hitter and Rizzo won it with an odd dribbler down the first base line resulting in a single. Kris Bryant hit a clean single up the middle. Daniel Murphy grounded out to move the pair into scoring position with just one out. Báez was walked and the revitalized Greg Holland entered the game. Willson Contreras was inserted into the game, and he struck out swinging for the second out. Ben Zobrist pinch hit as well and struck out as well to end the inning.
Brian Duensing entered the game to raise my blood pressure, but it worked out with Juan Soto hit a hard out to right. Joe saw enough and switched to the last reliable arm available in the pen. Pedro Strop retired two of the three Nationals he faced in the eighth inning.
Sean Doolittle and Pedro Strop pitched around some poor defense in the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings. Bryant pulled a double into left for the first clean hit against the very good lefty. Murphy singled for the first time in a week, and then Javier Báez hit what can only be described as a successful bunt fly to score Bryant. Koda Glover walked Contreras to load the bases, and this is where Maddon made the baffling decision to allow Pedro Strop to hit for himself. The worst possible outcome occurred with Strop straining his hamstring unsuccessfully trying to avoid the inning ending double play.
Randy Rosario retired the Nats in the order of the tenth inning, and the Cubs escaped Washington with their 83rd win of the season. However, the news on Pedro Strop wasn't encouraging with the expectation that he will miss at least a few weeks.