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Nationals take rubber match from Cubs

Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Zimmerman's RBI single in the eighth 
inning  gave the  Washington Nationals  a  2-1 win  over the  Chicago Cubs  on 
Sunday. 

Denard  Span legged out a double after poking one down the right field line to 
lead off the home eighth against Pedro Strop (1-4). Strop retired the next two 
batters  and intentionally walked  Adam LaRoche to set up a force at any base, 
but  Zimmerman made him pay by lacing a single to left. LaRoche was tagged out 
trying for third to end the inning, but Span had already crossed the plate. 

Tyler  Clippard  (6-2) escaped the  eighth inning unscathed and Rafael Soriano 
tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to secure his 21st save of the season. 

The  Nats  won their  second straight  game to take  the series after dropping 
Friday's opener, and have now won seven of eight overall. 

They  moved within a half-game of first-place Atlanta in the NL East after the 
Braves had their nine-game winning streak snapped on Sunday. 

"We have to worry about our own games. We can't do anything about what they're 
doing,"  said  Nationals manager Matt Williams.  "We just need to make sure we 
play our games until we get a chance to face them." 

Washington  put a  run across in the first inning against Chicago starter Jake 
Arrieta  but went silent after that until the eighth. Arrieta allowed just the 
one run on four hits across six innings. 

Span  doubled to  start the frame, moved to third on Anthony Rendon's grounder 
and scored when Jayson Werth grounded out to third. 

Arrieta  has  been one  of the most  dominant starters in  the majors of late, 
holding opponents to one or no runs in six of his last seven outings, dropping 
his team-best ERA to 1.78. 

Jordan  Zimmermann got  the  better  of Arrieta  through  six innings, though, 
holding Chicago scoreless on seven hits. Both starters struck out five. 

"Going  into  it you feel like  it's going to  be a tight ballgame," said Cub
manager Rick Renteria. "They were able to score the first run and we were only 
able to get the one." 

The Cubs tied the  game in the seventh inning against Drew Storen, who loaded 
the  bases  with one  away for Starlin  Castro. Castro did  his job, lifting a 
sacrifice  fly to center. Jerry Blevins took over and struck out Luis Valbuena 
to end the inning. 

                                   Game Notes 

The Cubs outhit  Washington,  10-7, but  went just  1-for-9  with runners  in 
scoring  position  and stranded  12 ...  Chicago had  won four straight before 
dropping  the last two  ... Rendon's nine-game hit streak came to an end after 
an 0-for-4 afternoon. 

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