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Nelson Cruz leads Nats past Cubs

Aug 15, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Josiah Gray (40) pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Nelson Cruz drove in three runs with a homer and a double and the host Washington Nationals defeated the Chicago Cubs 5-4 on Monday night.

Cruz broke a 4-4 tie when he homered to center off Brandon Hughes (1-1) with one out in the eighth.

Carl Edwards Jr. (4-3) pitched one inning for the win, and Kyle Finnegan picked up his fifth save.

Ian Happ homered twice for the Cubs.

The game marked the Nationals debut of shortstop CJ Abrams, one of five prospects obtained in the Juan Soto-Josh Bell trade. Abrams, called up from Triple-A Rochester, went 0-for-4 and committed a throwing error.

Washington starter Josiah Gray allowed three runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out 10 batters, one below his season high.

Marcus Stroman allowed four unearned runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings for the Cubs.

Gray retired the first two Chicago batters, but then Happ timed a 1-1 curveball and homered to right-center field. Seiya Suzuki followed with an infield single and Franmil Reyes banged a triple off the right field wall to make it 2-0.

In the fifth, Happ blasted a 2-1 pitch into the second deck in right-center field for his 12th homer of the season and the Cubs led 3-0. It was Happ’s ninth career multi-homer game.

The Nationals loaded the bases on an error and two singles to open the fifth. Joey Meneses struck out, but Luke Voit grounded into a fielder’s choice to score a run. Yadiel Hernandez followed with an RBI single. Stroman was lifted, but Cruz greeted Mark Leiter Jr. with a double down the third base line to score two runs and give Washington a 4-3 lead.

Chicago tied it in the seventh when Nick Madrigal doubled and later scored on Suzuki’s two-out single.

Cruz then drilled his ninth homer of the season in the eighth to put the Nationals ahead for good.

–Field Level Media