The Cubs took an early lead on Wednesday night, then saw it slip away in the late innings. Luckily, Chicago was able to exploit the Nationals’ mess of a bullpen for a second consecutive night to earn a much-needed series victory.
Mike Tauchman kicked off what would be a big night for him with a solo home run against former Cub Trevor Williams in the bottom of the 1st. Kyle Hendricks was good on Wednesday but a walk and two infield singles led to Washington tying the game in the 2nd.
Tauchman put Chicago back ahead with a groundball double down the third base line in the bottom of the 4th. The Palatine Pounder added a second RBI double off the center field wall in the 7th, although he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple.
It was at that point the Cubs answered back in a big way against reliever Mason Thompson. A single, walk, and a perfectly placed bunt hit by Miles Mastrobuoni loaded the bases for pinch-hitter Yan Gomes. The birthday boy delivered a go-ahead sacrifice fly to get the party started.
Tauchman walked to reload the bases for Nico Hoerner and Nationals manager Dave Martinez replaced Thompson with Cory Abbott. Hoerner greeted the former Cubs prospect with a grand slam that put the home team ahead by a comfortable 8-3 margin. (Box score)
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 20, 2023
The Cubs did not fold when Washington was able to tie the game in the 8th inning. They came right back and buried an opponent they needed to beat.
Why the Cubs Won
They had a good starting pitching effort and were able to add a lot of offense in the late innings for a second consecutive night.
Stats That Matter
- Solid response Wednesday after Hendricks’ dud against the Red Sox: 6 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 5 K, and 0 BB. Almost none of the hits he allowed were well-struck.
- Tauchman reached four times with three extra-base hits.
- Seiya Suzuki had two singles and a walk and looks much better at the plate.
The Cubs were able to avoid a disaster by taking this series, but now they have to keep it going against the Cardinals. It was very nice to see the top-of-the-order hitters have two consecutive good performances. Their production in the next two weeks is probably going to decide Chicago’s fate.
The aforementioned Cardinals series begins Thursday night at 7:05pm CT as Marcus Stroman takes on big left-hander Steven Matz in a game available on MLB Network (out of market only), Marquee, and 670 The Score.