National League Game Summary - Washington at Chicago|
(Thursday, April 5th)
Final Score: Washington 2, Chicago 1
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Ian Desmond went 3-for-5 and knocked in the go-
ahead run in the ninth inning, as the Washington Nationals opened the season
with a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Jayson Werth walked with the bases loaded in the eighth to tie the game.
The Nationals then added another run in the ninth off Carlos Marmol
(0-1). With two outs, Chad Tracy recorded the first extra-base hit of the game
with a double off the wall in right. Desmond followed with an RBI single to
right to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.
Former Phillies closer Brad Lidge came on in the home ninth. Ian Stewart hit a
one-out triple off the wall in right, but was thrown out at the plate when
Jeff Baker hit a grounder to third. Marlon Byrd struck out looking to end the
game, giving Lidge his first save in a Nationals uniform.
Stephen Strasburg gave up one run on five hits in a seven-inning start for the
Nationals, whose 80-81 finish last season was their best since posting
an 81-81 campaign back in 2005, the franchise's first in Washington after
relocating from Montreal. Tyler Clippard (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth to
pick up the win.
"It was just awesome getting a chance to pitch in Wrigley Field on Opening
Day," Strasburg said. "It's just a lot of fun going out there being in
somewhat of a hostile crowd. At the same time, the fans know the game. Just
think about all the Hall of Famers who played here. It's an honor."
Byrd drove in the lone run for the Cubs, who made headlines in the
offseason by naming former Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein
president of baseball operations. Epstein brought in one of his main soldiers
in Boston in Jed Hoyer to be the Cubs' GM.
Epstein earned everlasting fame as the man who put together World Series
championship teams in 2004 and 2007 after the Red Sox had not won a title
since 1918. The Cubs haven't won a world title since 1908.
In addition to Epstein and Hoyer, Chicago named Dale Sveum as its new manager.
The Cubs went 71-91 last season.
Ryan Dempster allowed one run on two hits in 7 2/3 frames. He struck out 10
and walked three. Dempster was just 10-14 last season to go along with a 4.80
"He was incredible," Sveum said of Dempster. "His command of his fastball, his
split, his cutter, his slider, everything was tremendous. I know he was ready
to prove everybody wrong about last year and getting the Opening Day start as
well, and he did a good job."
Washington had a chance to get on the board in the first inning. Desmond
started the game with a single and moved to second on Danny Espinosa's walk.
The runners moved up a base when Ryan Zimmerman flied out. But Dempster
retired the next two batters to keep it scoreless.
The Nationals wasted a golden opportunity to score in the third. After loading
the bases with one out, Adam LaRoche went down swinging and Werth flied out.
The Cubs made Washington pay in the fourth. Alfonso Soriano hit a one-out
single to get things going. Stewart reached base on a throwing error by Wilson
Ramos. Runners were on first and second after Soriano was caught stealing and
Baker walked. Byrd came through with an RBI single down the left-field line to
make it 1-0.
Pitching took over the game for the next few innings. Dempster was taken out
of the game in the eighth with a runner on first and two outs. Kerry Wood came
in from the bullpen and walked Zimmerman and LaRoche to load the bases. Werth
also worked a walk to bring in the tying run.
Strasburg spent most of last year recovering from Tommy John surgery...The
Nationals went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine,
while the Cubs went 1-for-3 with RISP and left six men on.
04/05 19:59:30 ET