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(Saturday, April 7th)
Final Score: Washington 7, Chicago 4
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Pinch-hitter Chad Tracy stroked a go-ahead two- run single to highlight a five-run eighth inning, as the Washington Nationals rallied for a 7-4 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
It marked Washington's second come-from-behind win in as many games this season. The Nationals posted a 2-1 victory in Thursday's opener by scoring the tying run in the eighth and the go-ahead run in the ninth.
The Cubs carried a 4-2 lead into the eighth on Saturday and Chicago reliever Kerry Wood (0-1) retired the first two Washington batters of the inning, but couldn't get another out.
Danny Espinosa made it a one-run game with a solo homer and Ryan Zimmerman kept the inning alive with a single. He raced to third on another base hit by Adam LaRoche, ending Wood's day, and Carlos Marmol walked Jayson Werth to load the bases before Tracy ripped a base hit into right field to give the Nats a 5-4 lead.
"That's the kind of bench I like to have," said Washington manager Davey Johnson. "People come in the game and get hits."
Roger Bernadina then doubled home Werth and Steve Lombardozzi greeted Shawn Camp with a run-scoring infield base hit to cap the uprising.
Tyler Clippard worked around a two-out walk in the home eighth and Henry Rodriguez issued a leadoff walk to Ian Stewart in the ninth before fanning Starlin Castro, pinch-hitter Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker to notch his first save.
"I think this is one of the best bullpens in baseball," Johnson added about his relief staff that surrendered one hit over the final 5 1/3 innings. "Everybody did their job and the offense came alive. That's how you win games on the road."
The win went to Ryan Mattheus (1-0), who struck out two in his lone inning of relief. LaRoche finished 4-for-5 with a two-run homer in the victory.
Washington starter Gio Gonzalez was roughed up for four runs on seven hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings of his National League debut. Acquired from Oakland in December as part of a six-player trade, the 26-year-old lefty was given a five-year, $42 million deal in the offseason.
Matt Garza went the first six innings for Chicago and was in line for the win after yielding two runs on five hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
"I set goals for myself and I didn't reach them. I want to at least pitch into the seventh every time out and take my team deep into the game and I didn't do that," said Garza.
The Cubs scored a gift run in the first. Joe Mather walked with one out and raced to third on a base hit by Castro. With two outs, Castro took off for second base and Washington catcher Wilson Ramos came out of his stance behind the plate in attempt to make the throw, but failed to come up with Gonzalez's low pitch. It skipped away and allowed Mather to cross the plate.
Garza faced the minimum through three innings, as a one-out single by Espinosa in the first was quickly erased by a double-play grounder from Zimmerman.
The Nationals reached the Chicago right-hander for two runs in the fourth when Ian Desmond led off with a walk and LaRoche connected for a two-out homer over the wall in right field.
Chicago answered with three in the bottom of the inning. Geovany Soto led off with a base hit and Marlon Byrd walked. Gonzalez retired the next two batters, but Reed Johnson drilled a pitch into the right field corner for a two-run triple and scored on Mather's base hit to left for a 4-2 edge.
Castro and Darwin Barney each had two hits for Chicago...Castro has reached base in 42 straight games dating back to last August...Bernadina and Espinosa each stroked two hits for the Nats, who outhit the Cubs, 12-8...Garza was 4-0 in his final six starts of 2011 and avoided salary arbitration in the offseason with a one-year, $9.5 million contract...The Cubs added pitcher Rodrigo Lopez to the roster prior to Saturday's game and outrighted the contract of infielder Luis Valbuena to Triple-A Iowa.
04/07 19:34:09 ET