Cubs Can't Stop Willie; Nats Beat Cubs 13-5

Posted by Dave Nichols | Saturday, August 23, 2008 | , , , , | 0 comments »

Chicago -- The Cubs intentionally walked Willie Harris, for good reason. In a career day, Harris went 2-for-4 with two home runs, six RBIs and three runs scored, and the aforementioned intentional walk, the second of his eight big league seasons. Harris' big day carried the Washington Nationals over the Chicago Cubs, owners of the best record in Major League Baseball,13-3 before 40,513 sun-drenched Cubs fans at Wrigley Field.

The Nationals had a field day against four different Cubs pitchers. 1B Ronnie Belliard, hitting in the five hole, went 4-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs, lead-off hitter Emilio Bonifacio went 2-for-5 with two runs, Jesus Flores went 2-for-2 after pinch-hitting, and Aaron Boone had abases-clearing 3-run double pinch-hitting in the eighth inning.

The Nats fun on the base paths didn't start until the sixth inning, after the Cubs got up to a 4-0 lead. Cubs starter Jason Marquis lost control of the strike zone, walking Cristian Guzman and Ryan Zimmerman after allowing an infield single to Bonifacio. Lastings Milledge drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly, followed by a two-run double by Belliard. Austin Kearns walked and Harris hit his first homer of the day.

In the seventh, Bonifacio reached via infield hit again, stole second and scored on Guzman's base hit.

In the eighth inning against reliever Chad Gaudin, Belliard hit his second double of the day, Harris earned his intentional pass, and Flores muscled a single out to left field, loading the bases. Boone pinch-hit for reliever Steven Shell and delivered a double to deep center field, clearing the bases. The ninth inning provided some fireworks as well, with Belliard and Harris both going deep with the wind blowing out to left field.

John Lannan (7-12, 3.95) earned the win despite having rough patches of his own, but he's had plenty go the other way this year. He pitched six and one-third innings, allowing five earned runs on seven hits and three walks,striking out three. Shell, Saul Rivera and Jesus Colome kept the Cubs off the scoreboard the rest of the way.

Neal Cotts (0-2) took the loss for the Cubs. Game two of the three-game series is today at 1:05 pm. Odalis Perez (5-9,4.06) faces all-star Ryan Dempster (14-5, 2.92) for the Cubs.

NATS NOTES: The Nats meager two-game winning streak pushes their record to46-83, 26 games behind the division-leading New York Mets.