Cubs rout Nationals, Strasburg
Cubs starting pitcher Edwin Jackson got the best of former teammate Stephen Strasburg on Saturday.
It may have been a difference in mound composure that aided the well-traveled 29-year-old veteran, who excelled on the hill and in the batter's box in his return to Washington as Chicago beat the Nationals 8-2 in the second game of a three-game set.
The Nationals (20-16) saw their season-high five-game winning streak come to an end while the Cubs (14-22) won for just the second time in their last 10 games at Nationals Park.
The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning when Jackson hit a two-out, two-run double to right-center against Strasburg (1-5), who lasted just five innings and gave up four unearned runs -- all in the fifth.
"I was just looking for something I could hit hard," Jackson said.
Chicago manager Dale Sveum said, "He came up with a huge hit. That was probably the difference in the ballgame."
On the mound Jackson (1-5), who won 10 games for Washington in 2012, allowed just four hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings.
"It was nice to finally get that monkey off my back and help contribute to the team," Jackson said.
"I thought he threw the ball pretty good," Washington manager Davey Johnson said. "If we are going to get beat, I am happy for him."
Johnson said an error by Ryan Zimmerman in the fifth may have caused Strasburg, 24, to lose his edge after he had retired the first 11 men he faced.
"He is certainly capable of picking us up. It is a team effort. Errors are part of the game," said Johnson, who said he may have a few words with Strasburg. "He is very critical of himself."
Said Strasburg: "I feel like I'm going out there and pitching well. It's just not happening on the days I'm pitching right now. It's all going to change. It's still early. All I can do is go out there and give it everything I have every fifth day, and whatever happens happens."
Jackson's hit was his first in 12 at-bats this season. He began the game with a lifetime average of .188.
After Jackson's hit, the Cubs loaded the bases on a walk to David DeJesus and an infield single by Starlin Castro. Anthony Rizzo (three hits) followed with a single past Strasburg into center to score two runs and give the Cubs a 4-0 lead.
Jackson left with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth. He was replaced by Shawn Camp, a product of nearby George Mason University.
Camp gave up a single to Ian Desmond as the Nationals cut the lead to 8-2. Danny Espinosa then struck out and Tyler Moore grounded into a fielder's choice to end the sixth.
The Cubs had taken a 5-1 lead in the top of the sixth on a wild pitch by reliever Zach Duke. Cody Ransom, in his first at-bat of the day off the bench, doubled in a run to make it 6-1. DeJesus then drove in two runs with a single to make it 8-1 against Duke, who gave up four earned runs in 2/3 inning.
Desmond had hit a solo homer in the fifth to pull Washington to within 4-1.
Strasburg gave up five hits, struck out seven and walked two. He threw 95 pitches and gave way to Duke, who came on in the sixth. Strasburg retired the first 11 batters -- six by strikeout -- before Rizzo lined a single in the fourth.
Jackson entered the game with an ERA of 6.39. Strasburg is now at 3.10 -- but has just one win after Washington collected just six hits Saturday.
NOTES: The Nationals placed right fielder Jayson Werth on the disabled list, retroactive to May 3, with a right hamstring strain and recalled outfielder Eury Perez from Triple-A Syracuse. Perez, a September call-up last year, hit .346 in 107 at-bats with Syracuse. Werth is hitting .260 in 100 at-bats with Washington. Perez took over in center for Denard Span late in the game. ... Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was out of the starting lineup for the second game in a row as he recovers from surgery on an ingrown toenail. ... Washington shortstop Desmond has six homers this year and Saturday was the first time the Nats did not win a game in which he went deep. ... The Cubs are in the midst of the only games they will play away from home in a 19-game streak.
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