CHICAGO — Ben Zobrist hit two home runs and Anthony Rizzo added a towering solo shot as the streaking Chicago Cubs defeated the Washington Nationals, 8-6, on Friday for their fifth consecutive win.
Zobrist has now hit a home run in each of his last three games and drove in four runs for the second consecutive day against the Nationals.
Tommy La Stella also hit a home run as the Cubs won for the ninth time in 10 games and improved to 22-6, the best record in the majors. The Nationals began the day at 19-9, the second-best mark in baseball.
John Lackey (4-1) struck out 11 batters, one shy of his career high, in seven innings.
Hector Rondon pitched a scoreless ninth for his fifth save in as many chances.
Max Scherzer (3-2) was tagged for seven runs and seven hits in five innings, including four home runs.
Anthony Rendon and Wilson Ramos hit home runs for Washington.
Lackey became the fifth active pitcher with 2,000 strikeouts when he fanned Jayson Werth in the fourth, joining C.C. Sabathia, Bartolo Colon, Felix Hernandez and Jake Peavy and earning a standing ovation from the Wrigley Field crowd of 39,206.
Scherzer hadn’t given up seven runs in a game since joining the Nationals last year. He surrendered 10 runs in 2014 when he pitched for the Detroit Tigers against the Kansas City Royals.
He hit an RBI single in the second to give Washington a 2-0 lead.
La Stella tied it with a two-run home run in the second.
Rizzo and Zobrist hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning for a 4-2 lead. Rizzo’s 10th home run, hit toward a flag atop the foul pole in right field, was reviewed and upheld.
Zobrist connected again for his fifth home run, a three-run shot with two outs in the fifth that made it 7-2.
Nationals center fielder Ben Revere was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list and went 0-for-5. He had been sidelined since the season opener because of a strained right oblique. To make room, outfielder Matt den Dekker was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.
Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel (4-0, 1.24 ERA) will face Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 1.15 ERA) in a matchup of two of the National League’s top four pitchers in ERA entering the weekend.
In 11 career starts against the Nationals, Hammel is 9-0 with a 3.01 ERA. No other active pitcher has as many wins without a loss against one opponent.
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