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(Friday, July 4)
Final Score: Chicago 7, Washington 2
Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - Justin Ruggiano homered among his three hits and knocked in two runs to back a solid Jason Hammel, as the Chicago Cubs stayed hot on the road by beating the Washington Nationals 7-2 in an Independence Day matinee from the nation's capital.
Chris Coghlan had two hits and scored three runs for the Cubs, who have won five consecutive road games for the first time since July 31-Aug. 4, 2011.
Hammel (8-5) allowed two runs on five hits, walked two and struck out seven in six-plus innings. He improved to 8-0 in 10 career starts against the Nationals.
"We're playing well right now and we're just trying to keep it going to the All-Star break," Hammel said.
Jayson Werth finished 2-for-3 with a home run and a walk for Washington, which had its season-best winning streak snapped at five games.
Tanner Roark (7-6), who had a 1.59 ERA in his eight previous home starts this season, surrendered four runs on nine hits over seven frames to absorb the loss.
The Cubs came out swinging against Roark, as Coghlan and Ruggiano opened the game with consecutive singles to right field. Coghlan then scored from third on an Anthony Rizzo double-play grounder.
Werth quickly tied the game in the bottom of the first with a two-out homer to left field, but Hammel helped himself with an RBI single in the second.
With two outs and two men aboard, Hammel hit a liner off the lower back of Roark that ricocheted into left.
Ruggiano homered to right leading off the third and Coghlan doubled before scoring on a Rizzo groundout in the fifth, extending the lead to 4-1.
The Nationals put two on to start the home fifth, as Ian Desmond singled in front of a walk by Wilson Ramos. Hammel proceeded to strike out Roark on a foul bunt after falling behind 3-0, got Denard Span to hit into a fielder's choice and fanned Bryce Harper to escape the jam.
"He's been tough on us. He's been tough on everybody, but especially us," Washington manager Matt Williams said about Hammel. "He pitched out of a jam in the fifth. We weren't able to get to him."
After throwing a 1-2-3 sixth, Hammel gave up a leadoff double to Anthony Rendon in the seventh. The extra-base hit into the left-field corner ended the Chicago right-hander's outing as Neil Ramirez took over on the mound.
Ramirez gave up an Ramos RBI single to right center with one away, but struck out pinch-hitter Nate McLouth and retired Span on a popup to short.
Pedro Strop pitched around a Werth double in the eighth before the Cubs padded their lead with three ninth-inning runs. Ruggiano singled with the bases loaded and Starlin Castro drove in a pair with a base hit.
Hammel and Roark entered the contest sporting the exact same record and ERA (2.98) ... Washington was 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position ... These clubs split a four-game set at Wrigley Field last week.
07/04 16:32:44 ET