Nats take out Arrieta, but Cubs sweep series with 13-inning win

Nats take out Arrieta, but Cubs sweep series with 13-inning win
CHICAGO - The Nationals threw everything they had, up to and possibly including the kitchen sink, in an attempt to do what no team in baseball has been able to do since last summer and actually beat Jake Arrieta. That still wasn't enough to pull off the implausible, though, certainly not when an overworked bullpen couldn't hold a late lead and a lineup that had countless opportunities to score runs throughout couldn't do it enough times to win. The Cubs rallied to score two runs in the...
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Harper walking up a storm at Wrigley (Nats lose 4-3 in 13)

Harper walking up a storm at Wrigley (Nats lose 4-3 in 13)
CHICAGO - The Cubs pitching staff has wanted no part of Bryce Harper this weekend, a strategy that worked for three days but hasn't paid off so far this afternoon. Midway through the final game of this four-game series at Wrigley Field, the Cubs have walked Harper 10 times in 15 plate appearances. He has only four official at-bats, with one hit. Chicago beat the Nationals three straight days with that avoid-Harper-at-all-costs approach, but the reigning league MVP finally made them pay for it...
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Pregame news and notes from Wrigley Field

Pregame news and notes from Wrigley Field
CHICAGO - It's tough to conjure up a tougher challenge for the Nationals than the one they face today, needing to beat Jake Arrieta to avoid a four-game sweep at Wrigley Field. But they seem to be embracing this matchup against the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, with the reigning NL MVP leading the charge. "Love that challenge," Bryce Harper said. "Being able to go against one of the best in baseball, what better on Mother's Day? It's going to be a lot of fun to go out there and face...
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Game 31 lineups: Nats at Cubs

Game 31 lineups: Nats at Cubs
CHICAGO - Though they've lost three straight and are in danger of getting swept out of Wrigley Field, in a strange way the Nationals are actually encouraged by the way they've played here against the Cubs. No, they haven't played perfect baseball, but they've played good baseball against a team that pretty much has been perfect through the season's first five weeks. "It's good that we're sticking right there with them," center fielder Ben Revere said after yesterday's 8-5 loss. "To...
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What happened on Gio Gonzalez's botched safety squeeze?

What happened on Gio Gonzalez's botched safety squeeze?
CHICAGO - There were several key moments during yesterday's 8-5 loss that could only leave the Nationals shrugging their shoulders in disbelief, plays simply just out of their reach and plays that just underscored how good (and perhaps fortunate) the Cubs have been during their record 23-6 start to the season. There was, however, one very significant play that was entirely the Nationals' fault, one for which no excuse would suffice: a botched safety squeeze that turned into a double play. It...
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Nationals lament close plays they didn't make in latest loss

Nationals lament close plays they didn't make in latest loss
CHICAGO - There was the slicing soft liner by Ryan Kalish that just barely got past a lunging Danny Espinosa and brought home two runs to give the Cubs a temporary lead over the Nationals in the bottom of the sixth. Then there was the double down the left field line by Anthony Rizzo that narrowly landed in fair territory and then bounced into the stands, putting the Cubs into prime position to break a tie game in the bottom of the seventh. And of course there was the ball Addison Russell popped...
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Imperfect Nationals fall 8-5 to Cubs, in danger of series sweep

Imperfect Nationals fall 8-5 to Cubs, in danger of series sweep
CHICAGO - To beat the Cubs right now, you have to play perfect baseball. The Nationals played very good baseball this afternoon, but they were far from perfect. And so they remain winless against baseball's best team so far in 2016. The Cubs battled their way to score three times in the sixth and then twice more in the seventh, taking advantage of some near-misses by the Nationals defense to emerge with a 8-5 victory on a long day at Wrigley Field. Addison Russell's bases-loaded two-run...
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Runs not at a premium on cold, windy day at Wrigley (Nats lose 8-5)

Runs not at a premium on cold, windy day at Wrigley (Nats lose 8-5)
CHICAGO - On a cold, windy afternoon at Wrigley Field, where the ball isn't likely to leave the yard with nearly as much ease as it did yesterday, the Nationals and Cubs knew they'd have to manufacture their offense. The Nats did just that in the top of the third, using both a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly to take a 1-0 lead. Moments later, it was the Cubs' turn to advance a runner via bunt, setting up the RBI triple that tied this game. But then Kris Bryant proved it possible to drive...
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Sick Murphy out of lineup; Rendon also ill but playing

Sick Murphy out of lineup; Rendon also ill but playing
CHICAGO - Dusty Baker likes to give his starters regular days off, and he likes to give them plenty of advance notice before doing it. So when today's Nationals lineup was posted and didn't include Daniel Murphy, the immediate assumption was that Baker planned to give his second baseman this game off all along, .406 batting average, 4-for-4 performance on Friday and career numbers versus Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel (6-for-11) notwithstanding. Turns out Baker never intended to sit Murphy...
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Game 30 lineups: Nats at Cubs

Game 30 lineups: Nats at Cubs
CHICAGO - They say here in Chicago: If you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes. And boy has that been true so far this weekend. It was 47 degrees and cloudy on Thursday night. Then it was 73 degrees with a warm breeze blowing out of Wrigley Field yesterday. Now it's back down in the 50s with a really strong wind blowing in from the north. At least the sun's out. Don't expect the ball to fly like it did during yesterday's game, which may not be such a bad thing for the Nationals, who...
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Another four-hit day leaves Murphy hitting .406 for the season

Another four-hit day leaves Murphy hitting .406 for the season
CHICAGO - Perhaps back in the day, before they added the two giant video boards behind the famed bleachers at Wrigley Field, Daniel Murphy could have rested easy, knowing there was no chance of looking up while he stood at the plate here and seeing the numbers ".406" right next to his name. After last year's ballpark renovations, though, it's pretty hard not to see it. So Murphy has to approach this just as he does everything else on the baseball field: staying focused on the game at hand,...
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Scherzer tries to explain yet another home run barrage

Scherzer tries to explain yet another home run barrage
CHICAGO - Max Scherzer has blamed his struggles on mechanics. He's blamed them on execution of pitches. And now he's blaming them on his inability to outthink the talented Cubs hitters that dug in against him this afternoon and blasted his pitches out of Wrigley Field. "I felt like I was predictable, and they were just able to kind of key on that," Scherzer said following an 8-6 loss that featured four Chicago homers in his five innings of work. "It's almost like they had a better...
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Blistering-hot Cubs thump Nationals again 8-6

Blistering-hot Cubs thump Nationals again 8-6
CHICAGO - The Nationals knew the final leg of their 10-game road trip through the Midwest was going to be the toughest, but they might not have known just how tough. The blistering-hot Cubs have taken down every opponent they've faced so far in 2016, and now they're adding the Nats to their checklist of conquests. Today's 8-6 thumping at Wrigley Field was merely the latest outcome to date. Behind four home runs off struggling ace Max Scherzer, the Cubs cruised to another victory, improving...
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Ball flying out of Wrigley (Nats lose 8-6)

Ball flying out of Wrigley (Nats lose 8-6)
CHICAGO - There is no ballpark in America for which changes in weather have a more dramatic effect on the game than Wrigley Field. On cold nights when the wind blows in off Lake Michigan, the Friendly Confines seemingly expand into national park dimensions. But when the temperature heats up and the wind blows out, this becomes a home run hitter's haven. So when John Lackey threw his first pitch of today's game under mostly sunny skies, 73-degree temperature readings and a nice breeze blowing...
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Revere ready to go "all-out" in return, while Taylor returns to bench

Revere ready to go "all-out" in return, while Taylor returns to bench
CHICAGO - Ben Revere awoke this morning to a text from his agent, Barry Meister, that contained a simple-yet-significant message: "Second opening day of the season!" Suffice it to say, Revere is just a bit fired up to be back in the Nationals lineup after straining his right oblique muscle on his very first swing of the season. "I'm real happy," he said. "It was kind of a bummer missing the first month of the season, with the team doing so well without you. The chemistry in that locker...
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Game 29 lineups: Nats at Cubs

Game 29 lineups: Nats at Cubs
CHICAGO - After a chilly night with the wind blowing in at Wrigley Field, it's suddenly a beautiful, warm day with the wind blowing out today. Chicago weather, folks, gotta love it. Or hate it. The Nationals and Cubs play the second of their four-game series this afternoon, the Nats looking to bounce back from a fairly nondescript 5-2 loss in last night's opener. The good news: They've got their leadoff hitter and center fielder back at last. Yes, Ben Revere has been activated off the...
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Rare defensive miscues cost Nats in loss to Cubs

Rare defensive miscues cost Nats in loss to Cubs
CHICAGO - They had been a stellar defensive team throughout the season's first month, entering play last night with fewer errors than any other club in the National League. Which only made the Nationals' defensive miscues during their 5-2 loss to the Cubs all the more striking. From a purely official standpoint, the Nats were not charged with any errors. They still lead the NL with only nine in 28 games so far this year. From an unofficial standpoint, they were quite shaky in the field. It...
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Taylor's struggles get magnified during key strikeout

Taylor's struggles get magnified during key strikeout
CHICAGO - The Nationals didn't want to make Michael A. Taylor bat leadoff on a daily basis, and with Ben Revere about to return from the disabled list, they probably won't need to ask Taylor to do it much more. But no matter where he bats in the Nats lineup, no matter how many or how few opportunities he gets moving forward, Taylor has to prove he can transform himself into the kind of hitter his team can trust in big spots. Taylor found himself in one of those spots tonight during a 5-2 loss...
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Ross effective vs. Cubs, but Nats lose 5-2

Ross effective vs. Cubs, but Nats lose 5-2
CHICAGO - The opener of a marquee series between the National League's top two teams featured plenty of big names, plenty of dominant pitching performances and some highlight-reel defense. What it didn't include was very much offense. The Cubs managed to pull off a 5-2 victory over the Nationals thanks to Ben Zobrist's two-run single to right in the bottom of the fourth and two-run homer off Felipe Rivero in the bottom of the eighth. Addison Russell added an RBI double in the eighth, as...
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Nationals shut out by Cubs, 5-2, in opener of key series

Nationals shut out by Cubs, 5-2, in opener of key series
CHICAGO - The opener of a marquee series between the National League's top two teams featured plenty of big names, plenty of dominant pitching performances and some highlight-reel defense. What it didn't include was very much offense by the visitors. The Cubs managed to pull off a 5-2 victory over the Nationals thanks to a pair of big hits by Ben Zobrist: His two-run single to right in the bottom of the fourth, then his two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth, spoiling a mostly strong...
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