Strasburg strong to start in Game 1 (Cubs win 3-0)

Right-hander Stephen Strasburg came out strong to begin National League Division Series Game 1 against the Chicago Cubs. The Nationals starter struck out two in the first inning, getting both Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo swinging.

Stephen-Strasburg-white-opening-day-sidebar.jpgStrasburg began the second by catching Willson Contreras looking at a third strike. With two outs, he walked Addison Russell, but then induced a towering fly ball to right field from Jason Heyward to end the frame.

The Nats got a one-out single by Bryce Harper in the first. But Anthony Rendon grounded out to the pitcher and Daniel Murphy’s scorching liner to first base was caught by Rizzo to end the inning.

With one out in the second, home plate umpire Cory Blaser called Jayson Werth out on a close third strike. But Matt Wieters was hit by a Kyle Hendricks pitch before Michael A. Taylor’s well-hit single to left field to put men on first and second. Strasburg grounded out to first base to end the inning.

After two innings at Nats Park, the Nats and Cubs are still scoreless.

Update: Strasburg has been outstanding. He set a franchise record for strikeouts in a single postseason game with eight in five innings. The right-hander has also not allowed a hit.

Hendricks has also kept the Nats off the board. Despite two walks in the fourth, Hendricks got out of the jame because Ryan Zimmerman grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and Wieters struck out.

After five innings, the Nats and Cubs continue to be scoreless.

Update II: In the sixth, Javier Báez’s grounder to third was bobbled by Rendon. Baez was safe on Rendon’s error. Hendricks sacrificed Báez to second and Ben Zobrist flew out to center field for the second out. Bryant singled to right field to score Báez. Harper overthrew the cut off man Murphy and Bryant went to second base. Rizzo singled to right, with Harper unable to come up with his sinking liner, scoring Bryant.

Mid-sixth, the Cubs lead 2-0.

Update III: Strasburg finished seven innings, allowed three hits and two runs (both unearned) with one walk and a franchise postseason record 10 strikeouts. He fired 81 pitches, 60 for strikes. Hendricks went seven innings, allowed no runs, three walks and struck out six on 106 pitches, 69 for strikes.

After seven innings, the Cubs lead the Nats 2-0.

Update IV: Facing Ryan Madson in the eighth, pinch-hitter Jon Jay doubled. With two outs, Rizzo doubled to left field to score Jay with a gigantic insurance run.

Mid-eighth, the Cubs lead 3-0.

Update V: In the bottom of the ninth facing Cubs closer Wade Davis, Murphy grounded out to second base. Zimmerman struck out, but the ball got away from Contreras. Zimmerman ran to first and was hit in the back by Contreras’ throw to Rizzo, but was called out for running inside the base line. Werth popped out to foul to the catcher to end the game.

The Cubs win 3-0 in Game 1.

The Cubs lead the best-of-five series 1-0.

The Nats were held without a hit for the final seven innings.

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