The Chicago Cubs couldn't get past the Washington Nationals on Monday, dropping a close but uneventful game 2-1. It was the start their four-game series at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. Chicago has now lost three-straight games going back to a three-game set against the San Francisco Giants. They're so far back in the NL Central, it's not worth examining just how far back of the lead they are.
Jeff Samardzija made the start for Chicago, lasting seven innings and allowing just one run off of seven hits, striking out eight. The one run was a solo homer from Adam LaRoche in the second inning, a 1-0 lead that the Nationals would hold until the eighth when Ryan Zimmerman doubled to left field, bringing Bryce Harper around to score to make it 2-0.
The ninth inning almost saw a comeback as the Cubs managed to grab a run when Welington Castillo singled to center, scoring Anthony Rizzo, who singled to start the inning. Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro flew out prior to that single, so they scored with two outs. But Josh Vitters struck out swinging to end the game.
Ross Detwiler earned the win for the Nationals, with seven innings pitches and no earned runs. He walked three and gave up three hits and only struck out three, but the "no earned runs" mark is the most important, obviously. Game two will take place on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET.