Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - John Baker drove in four runs to help lead
the Chicago Cubs to a 7-2 win over the Washington Nationals in the second
installment of a four-game set from Wrigley Field.
Baker, hitting just .160 at the plate entering Friday's contest, went 3-for-3
and doubled his season RBI total in the triumph. Chris Coghlan had two hits,
while he and Luis Valbuena each scored twice.
"It feels great," Baker said. "I finally hit a couple baseballs that didn't go
right at somebody. Baseball will rip your heart out, but we love it so much.
It's fun to contribute."
Jason Hammel (7-5) continued his dominance of the Nationals, allowing two runs
on five hits with six strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings. Hammel improved to 7-0 in
nine career starts against Washington.
His counterpart, Tanner Roark (7-5), lost for the first time since June 1
after getting roughed up for four runs on 10 hits over six innings. He
hadn't given up more than three runs in a start since May 3, when the
Phillies scored seven in four innings against him.
Adam LaRoche had a solo home run in the setback.
Washington scored a run in the second inning and a run in the fourth, but
Chicago countered with two runs in the bottom half of both.
Ryan Zimmerman gave the Nationals an early 1-0 lead, plating LaRoche with a
double to left. Zimmerman moved to third on an error and Wilson Ramos walked
to put runners on the corners, but Hammel stranded both runners with three
Baker and Darwin Barney hit consecutive RBI singles to center in the bottom of
the second to make it 2-1.
"They're a good hitting ball club," said Roark. "They didn't hit home runs,
they hit one extra base hit off me that I remember. Other than that, they
were hitting singles and putting pressure on us."
LaRoche tied the game in his next at-bat with a solo blast to right. The draw
lasted for just minutes, as Ryan Sweeney drove in Coghlan and Baker with
a poke to center to put Chicago back in front.
Baker broke the game open in the seventh inning, clearing the bases with a
three-run double down the right field line off Jerry Blevins.
Eight of nine Cubs starters, including Hammel, had at least one hit ...
Washington finished 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.