CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs stumped the Washington Nationals, 7-2, on Friday and have captured the first two games of the four-game series.
Clutch-hitting by John Baker and strong pitching by Jason Hammel did the trick.
Cubs outfielder Junior Lake was not in the starting lineup Friday, but manager Rick Renteria said Lake checked out satisfactorily after slamming his head and left knee into a steel door in right-centerfield Thursday night.
The Nationals took 1-0 lead in the second inning Friday. Adam LaRoche led off with a single up the middle before Ryan Zimmerman doubled him home. Shortstop Starlin Castro's relay throw from short left field bounced past catcher John Baker for an error that allowed Zimmerman to advance to third.
The Cubs took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second after the first four batters reached on hits. Luis Valbuena led off with a double before Chris Coghlan reached on an infield hit. Baker singled up the middle to tally Valbuena. Darwin Barney followed with an RBI single.
The Nationals tied the game 2-2 in the fourth when LaRoche lined his 10th homer of the year into the rightfield basket.
The Cubs rebounded in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out, two-run single by Ryan Sweeney to make it 4-2.
Baker delivered a two-out, bases-loaded double into the right-field corner to give the Cubs a 7-2 lead in the seventh inning.
Lake, who suffered a bruised knee and forehead, lobbied to stay in the game Thursday night after medical staff rushed onto the field to check on him.
"He didn't want to come out. I said: 'You OK?' He said: 'Yeah, yeah, I'm fine.' But obviously we had to get him in to get him checked out," Renteria said.
Righthander Hammel improved to 7-5. Nationals righthander Tanner Roark (7-5) took the loss.
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