Arrieta solid as Cubs score early and defeat Nationals 2-1
WASHINGTON (AP) Joe Maddon had no idea what two of his players were cooking up on the final play of the Chicago Cubs' 2-1 win over the Washington Nationals on Thursday night.
With the tying run on second and the go-ahead run on first, catcher David Ross picked Washington's Clint Robinson off first base to seal the win. Jake Arrieta pitched six strong innings, and the Cubs made a pair of first-inning runs hold up thanks in part to Ross and first-baseman Anthony Rizzo.
''They saw something. They went with it,'' said Maddon, the Cubs manager. ''It was all them. Spectacular.''
Arrieta (5-4) rebounded from a pair of subpar outings, pitching six innings and giving up a run and six hits. Hector Rondon pitched the ninth for his 10th save.
Washington's Anthony Rendon, who missed 53 games due to injuries, had two hits in his season debut. He was at the plate when Rizzo saw Robinson getting a little too far off the bag.
''Rossi gave me a look and confirmed the signs, and made a good throw,'' Rizzo said.
Robinson had followed Michael Taylor's one-out single with a walk.
''I wasn't really trying to go anywhere,'' Robinson said. ''I just couldn't get back fast enough.''
Bryce Harper drove in a run with a sixth-inning groundout, snapping an 18-inning scoreless streak for Washington, which has lost six of seven.
Gio Gonzalez (4-3) allowed two runs and four hits over six innings. He struck out six and tied a season high with four walks.
The start of the game was delayed nearly two hours by rain.
Gonzalez had thrown 29 consecutive scoreless innings over his last four starts against Chicago, but the Cubs ended that streak in the first.
After a walk sandwiched between two singles loaded the bases with no outs, Junior Lake walked to force home a run. Another run scored when Starlin Castro grounded into a double play.
Thanks in part to Rendon's double past a diving Lake, Washington loaded the bases with one out in the sixth. Harper hit a soft grounder to short and was out on a bang-bang play at first as Span scored.
He lingered on the bag briefly, but manager Matt Williams had lost his challenge in the fourth inning when Danny Espinosa was called out attempting to steal second.
Ryan Zimmerman was hit by a pitch to load the bases again, but Anthony Rizzo made a jumping catch on Ian Desmond's liner.
''We felt confident that he was in there, but they ruled otherwise,'' Williams said of Espinosa's steal attempt.
Maddon was asked if he looks at past performances of hitters against that night's starting pitcher in making his lineup. ''Not at all. We have our own cocktail brewing,'' he said. ''I won't deny that I'll look at it after I've done my lineup, just curiously to see how our work compares to real life.''
ESCOBAR LEAVES EARLY
Washington third baseman Yunel Escobar left after trying to check his swing on a strikeout in the first inning. Rendon, who began the game at second, moved over to third. ''His right wrist wasn't feeling good,'' Williams said. ''They took an X-ray. He's fine, so there's no issue there. He just tweaked it trying to check up.''
Cubs: OF Chris Denorfia (left hamstring strain) began a rehab assignment with Double-A Tennessee.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (strained left trapezius) played catch on flat ground for the second straight day. ... RHP Doug Fister (right forearm tightness) and LHP Sammy Solis (left shoulder inflammation) threw bullpen sessions of 40 and 35 pitches, respectively. Neither reported any issues.
Cubs: LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0, 2.30) allowed a run in 5 1/3 innings of a 2-1 Cubs' loss to the Nationals on May 25. He's limited opponents to a .182 batting average.
Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (1-2, 2.59) faces Wada and the Cubs for the second time in 11 days. He gave up a run in five innings to pick up the win on May 25.
This story has been corrected to show the last name of the Cubs manager is Maddon, not Madden.