Baseball / Sports

Cubs beat Nationals, 5-3

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs entered Thursday night's game against the Washington Nationals with the same record through 76 games (32-44) as they had last season, but they insist they are not just spinning their wheels.

Left-hander Travis Wood (7-6, 4.55), who was an All-Star last season, drew the starting assignment and lasted 6 2/3 innings before departing with the score tied. But the Cubs managed to win 5-3 after Justin Ruggiano's two-out two-run double in the seventh at fog-shrouded Wrigley Field.

The Cubs had dropped four of their previous five games. Wood recorded quality starts in eight of his previous 15 outings.

"He has had a hiccup or two along the way," Renteria said. "But he has made some adjustments. He is starting to come back. His recent outings have gone deeper and he has been able to execute pitches. He trusts his stuff. He is starting to put himself back."

The Nationals (41-36), who entered the game in first place in the National League East, countered with right-hander Doug Fister (6-2, 2.65). Fister went six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits.

The Cubs have not had a winning season series against the Nationals (4-2) since 2010.

The Cubs broke through on Fister in the fourth inning. Ruggiano was safe on an infield single before advancing to third on an Anthony Rizzo double. Starlin Castro then muscled a single to left to drive both of them in. Welington Castillo followed with a single to center to score Castro.

The Nationals got on the board in the sixth inning after Denard Span opened with a double and scored on Anthony Rendon's single to make it 3-1.

Wood was chased in the seventh after walking two batters and allowing a two-run double to Span to tie the game 3-3. Neil Ramirez came in to retire Rendon for the third out. Wood was charged with three runs on nine hits. He walked five and struck out four.

The Cubs regained the lead 5-3 on Ruggiano's two-run double.

Center fielder Junior Lake gave everyone a scare in the second inning when he crashed into the wall in right-center field while trying to chase down a Ryan Zimmerman double. Lake's head appeared to slam against the steel door just to the left of the 368-foot sign. He was motionless on the ground at first as medical staff from both teams rushed to his aid. Lake eventually climbed to his feet and walked off the field to be examined in the clubhouse.

The Cubs later announced Lake suffered "a couple of bruises but no concussion symptoms."

Nate Schierholtz entered the game to play right field and Ruggiano moved from right to center.

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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