- Associated Press - Sunday, May 8, 2016

CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs walked Bryce Harper a record-tying six times, then completed a four-game sweep of the Washington Nationals when Javier Baez hit a home run in the 13th inning for a 4-3 win on Sunday.

Manager Joe Maddon and the Cubs simply showed no interest in pitching to Harper, who walked a total of 13 times in the series.

Harper matched the major-league record for walks in a game, last done by Jeff Bagwell in 1999, and was hit by a pitch in his other plate appearance. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Harper was the first player to reach base seven times without an official at-bat.

Things almost became almost comical when Harper strolled to the batter’s box. In the 10th inning, and again in the 12th, the Cubs intentionally walked him with runners on first and second and two outs. At one point, Harper was kidding with catcher David Ross as four balls sailed wide.

The Cubs (24-6), who won their seventh consecutive game, escaped both bases-loaded jams by retiring Ryan Zimmerman. Harper drew three intentional walks for the Nationals (19-12), who have lost their last four games and have fallen one game behind the New York Mets for the National League East lead.

Baez, who entered as a pinch hitter and stayed in to play third base, connected for his second home run of the season off Blake Treinen (2-1).

Travis Wood (1-0) went one inning for the win.

The Cubs won their 20th consecutive game with Jake Arrieta on the mound. Arrieta did not factor into the decision, giving up two earned runs in five innings.

Kris Bryant hit a tying, two-run single off Nationals reliever Yusmeiro Petit in the seventh.

Arrieta was in line for his first loss since last July 25 — when the Philadephia Phillies’ Cole Hammels pitched a no-hitter at Wrigley Field — before Chicago rallied for its 11th win in 12 games.

The Cubs are off to baseball’s best 30-game start since the Detroit Tigers were 26-4 in 1984.

Arrieta’s ERA increased from 0.84 to 1.13 on a day when struggled with his control. The right-hander lasted just five innings for the second time in three starts.

Arrieta walked four, struck out seven and threw three wild pitches.

Washington’s Tanner Roark gave up one run and four hits in six innings.

Second baseman Daniel Murphy and third baseman Anthony Rendon, who have been ill in recent days, were in the lineup.

Right-hander Stephen Strasburg (5-0, 2.36 ERA) looks to remain unbeaten as the Nationals open a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers at home on Monday. Right-hander Anibal Sanchez (3-3, 5.87 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Tigers.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide