CHICAGO — David Bote and Ian Happ homered, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Washington Nationals 6-3 on Tuesday night.
Chicago slugger Anthony Rizzo left the game because of tightness in his lower back, but the Cubs got enough big hits to come away with another win after pounding Jon Lester the previous day in his return to Wrigley Field.
“I think we’re in a good spot,” Kris Bryant said. “A lot of young guys kind of stepping up. … It’s just kind of fun to see new faces take on some roles and get their feet wet. I’m really looking forward to seeing them develop and continue to get better in the big leagues. Who knows how the rest of the season’s gonna play out? But I think we’re in a good spot, for sure.”
Bote broke a 3-all tie with a two-run homer against reliever Will Harris (0-1) in the sixth inning. Happ made it 6-3 with his drive to the basket in left-center against Wander Suero leading off the eighth.
Willson Contereras had two hits, including a two-run single in the third against new dad Patrick Corbin. Bryant singled twice and drove in a run.
Keegan Thompson (2-1) tossed 1 1/3 innings after Zach Davies pitched into the sixth. Thompson also got his first major league hit when he singled in the sixth.
Craig Kimbrel worked the ninth for his eighth save in 10 chances as the Cubs won for the fourth time in five games.
Davies gave up three runs and seven hits. The right-hander exited after former Cubs infielder Starlin Castro homered leading off the sixth and Josh Harrison singled.
Davies also laid down two sacrifice bunts, setting up Contreras’ hit in the third and Bryant‘s RBI single in the fifth.
Corbin went five innings, allowing three runs and eight hits. The two-time All-Star rejoined the team following the birth of his first child, Weston Alan, last week.
The Nationals simply didn’t come up with the big hits, going 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position and leaving 11 on base.
“You can’t be too fine,” manager Dave Martinez said. “You can’t look for the ball right down the middle. You’ve got to get up there, try to get a ball that you feel like you can hit, especially early in the count.”
Cubs manager David Ross said Rizzo slipped leaving the box when he grounded out to end a two-run third and is day to day.
Rizzo did some stretches at first base prior to the fourth. Ross and a trainer went out to check on him.
Rizzo remained in the game. But he couldn’t handle Kyle Schwarber’s grounder leading off the inning, resulting in an error.
He was replaced as a precaution in the fifth, with Bryant moving from right field to first base. Jason Heyward went in to play right and took Rizzo’s spot in the batting order.
“I had about eight or nine pieces of candy in my pocket the whole inning and just left him a present. We were talking about bringing him Miller Lite, but that probably would be frowned upon.” — Bryant on leaving a Twix bar for former teammate Schwarber in left field during Monday’s game.
The Cubs showed a video tribute to Lester prior to the game. Ross then joined Rizzo and Happ to present Lester with a signed “W” flag. Lester was also given two green seats.
The Nationals reinstated Corbin from the paternity list and optioned right-hander Paolo Espino to Triple-A Rochester. He will be returned to the taxi squad for the remainder of Washington’s seven-game trip, which ends on Thursday.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (shoulder inflammation) threw 34 pitches in a bullpen session. Martinez said the Nationals will see how Strasburg feels Wednesday before deciding on the next step. The three-time All-Star has not pitched since April 13.
Cubs: OF Jake Marisnick (right hamstring strain) has been doing some light running. “I think he’s happy how things are progressing,” Ross said. … RHP Trevor Megill (strained right forearm) and RHP Alec Mills (strained lower back) are scheduled to throw bullpens Thursday.
Nationals ace Max Scherzer (3‐2, 2.10 ERA) and Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta (4‐3, 4.10) get the ball Wednesday in a matchup of Cy Young Award winners as the teams continue their four-game series. Arrieta is 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA in three starts at Wrigley Field this season. Scherzer is 2-0 in his past three outings.
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