Chicago starter Chris Rusin (0-2) was called up from Double-A Kodak to start for the Cubs, but the left-hander was unable to pitch out of the second inning after giving up two home runs and a two-run double. Jaye Chapman was called on in relief with no outs in the second inning.
Washington shortstop Ian Desmond knocked in four of the Nationals' five early runs with a two-run homer in the first inning and a two-run double in the second, which knocked out Rusin. The Cubs would end up using seven pitchers in the game, five of whom giving up at least one run.
The Nationals hit six home runs in the game, including two solo shots by first baseman Adam LaRoche who finished the night with four hits.
Edwin Jackson (9-9) earned the win for Washington after giving up seven hits and four runs in 5.2 innings. Jackson also logged eight of the 10 strikeouts by Washington pitchers on the night.
The two teams resume their four-game series Wednesday night at 6:05 p.m. CT.