The Nationals grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third inning of Game 4 of the National League Division Series, Trea Turner racing home from third base when shortstop Addison Russell booted Ryan Zimmerman’s two-out grounder.
Turner doubled to left field with one out in the second, his first hit in 13 at-bats in the NLDS. He went to third on a wild pitch from Cubs righty Jake Arrieta while Jayson Werth was batting. Werth struck out and Bryce Harper walked, later stealing second. Zimmerman hit a bouncer up the middle that Russell tried to glove on the short hop, but the ball caromed off the heel of his glove as Turner scored.
So far, Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg is showing no ill effects from his bout with flu-like symptoms that put his start in this game in doubt. He’s allowed a hit and a walk through three innings, both coming in the second, when he wiggled out of a two-out jam with runners on the corners by getting Javier Báez to ground out.
Strasburg’s fastball and curve seem to be his go-to pitches so far, as he’s still searching for command of his changeup. Strasburg has fanned five, including the side in the third.
Update II: Strasburg struck out the side again in the fourth, working around his throwing error on an infield single, which allowed Willson Contreras to reach second base with one out. He’s getting the feel for the change, as five swinging strikeouts suggest.
Jon Lester is on in relief for Arrieta, who went four innings, allowed an unearned run on two hits, walked five and struck out four. He threw 90 pitches, 53 for strikes.
Update III: Strasburg is dealing through six innings, and the Nats take a 1-0 lead to the seventh. He has allowed three hits with two walks and nine strikeouts so far, a gutsy effort in anyone’s book. Strasburg has thrown 89 pitches, 62 for strikes.
Update IV: By fanning the side in the seventh, Strasburg now has 12 for the game, breaking his own single-game franchise postseason record. He’s at 106 pitches.
Update V: The Nationals’ series-long slump is over, and one swing by Michael A. Taylor has extended their lead to 5-0 in the eighth. With one out, Zimmerman walked and was picked off by Lester, a play that had to go to video review. Then the Nats put together a two-out rally.
Daniel Murphy singled, Carl Edwards Jr. replaced Lester and a wild pitch advanced Murphy to second. Anthony Rendon and Matt Wieters walked and Edwards gave way to Wade Davis with a 1-0 count on Taylor. After fouling off Davis’ first pitch, Taylor lofted a fly ball into the netting in right field, an opposite-field grand slam and the first postseason slam in Nationals history.
Ryan Madson is on in relief of Strasburg, who went seven innings, allowed no runs on three hits, walked two and fanned 12. He’s yet to allow an earned run in two NLDS starts this season.
Update VI: Sean Doolittle worked a 1-2-3 ninth. The Nats win 5-0 to force Game 5 in D.C. on Thursday night.