Jun 28, 2014, 10:55 PM EDT
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: If you’re going to spend the entire day and night at the ballpark, might as well win two ballgames. The Nationals will leave Chicago exhausted but happy to have taken both ends of their doubleheader with the Cubs, salvaging a 4-game series split at Wrigley Field.
And few will be happier than Blake Treinen, who in his fifth career start finally earned his first career win thanks to five strong innings and some well-deserved run support. Adam LaRoche and Wilson Ramos each homered off Jeff Samardzija, while Anthony Rendon, Kevin Frandsen and Jayson Werth all added RBI to knock out the Cubs ace.
Add three innings of relief from Ross Detwiler, who earned his first career save, and the Nationals managed to keep their bullpen in one piece at the end of a long road trip that included seven games in six days, one of them a 16-inning marathon that was the longest game in club history. They wound up 4-3 on the trip, and they’ll head home 43-38 at the official halfway point of the season, tied with the Braves for first place in the NL East.
HITTING HIGHLIGHT: There were no shortage of big hits for the Nationals in this game, but let’s highlight Ramos’ fifth-inning blast. The leadoff shot into the left-field bleachers was his first homer since coming off the DL and continued his strong return. In three games since coming back from his hamstring strain, Ramos is 4-for-10 with two walks and that home run. For a Nationals lineup that has been struggling of late to produce runs, the re-emergence of the big catcher has certainly been welcome.
PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: This wasn’t exactly an easy assignment for Treinen. Summoned from Syracuse to make a spot start in the second half of a doubleheader, he also had to navigate his way through a 55-minute rain delay in the bottom of the fourth. But the rookie right-hander responded well. He showed off the same upper-90s sinker that impressed Nationals officials earlier this season during his previous call-ups, and he also showed better command of his off-speed stuff this time around. It certainly had to help that Treinen was able to pitch with a lead for a change. Entering this game, he had faced 131 big-league batters, but only 16 of them with the Nationals leading. Thanks to that much-appreciated run support tonight, Treinen was able to head back to Syracuse with the ball from his first career win.
KEY STAT: This was the first scheduled doubleheader at Wrigley Field in 31 years, and tomorrow will be the Cubs’ first scheduled Sunday off in 82 years.
UP NEXT: After their highly unusual Sunday off, the Nationals open an 8-game homestand Monday against the Rockies. And it looks like Bryce Harper (who launched three homers tonight on rehab with Class AA Harrisburg) will be making his return from the DL when Jordan Zimmermann faces Colorado lefty Yohan Flande at 7:05 p.m.
NL EAST STANDINGS
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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