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Nationals end skid, defeat Cubs

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Dan Haren may not typically care to regularly pitch on three days rest, but there wasn't much wrong with his arm and pitch selection in Tuesday's six-inning effort in the Washington Nationals' 4-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

Haren worked an inning of relief and earned a save in last Saturday's 15-inning 8-7 win over Atlanta. On Tuesday at Wrigley Field, he scattered five hits for his fourth win in his last five starts.

Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his 32nd save.

"As I was warming up, it was a little tougher to get loose," said Haren (8-11). "Even the first inning or two was kind of a battle for me. But as the game progressed, it got better and better ... (but) I didn't have my best stuff."

Haren credited catcher Wilson Ramos with calling an effective game.

"Wilson did a really good job today because I was throwing some pitches I don't really throw," Haren said. "But he was really mixing it up well."

Tyler Moore went 2-for-3 and drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning and his Washington teammates added two insurance runs in the ninth.

The victory stopped a two-game Nationals skid and was the 300th over the Cubs in franchise history, including 35 seasons as the Montreal Expos. The Expos/Nationals have also won 300-plus games against the Mets (375) and Phillies (356).

Moore drove in Ryan Zimmerman from third base with two outs in the sixth to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead. Cubs starter Chris Rusin was pulled after the next batter -- Anthony Rendon -- singled to put runners at first and second.

Chicago reliever Blake Parker walked pinch-hitter Adam LaRoche to load the bases for Haren, who ended the inning grounding out to short.

Rusin (2-3) worked 5 2/3 innings and gave up two earned runs and 10 hits, walked two and struck out two.

"It was one of those days as a pitcher where you have to find out what works when your other stuff isn't," Rusin said. "I couldn't find my two-seam today, but I was able to find some other pitches to get me out of jams."

Haren, meanwhile, pitched six full innings and gave up one earned run and five hits. He struck out six and walked none.

"Haren pitched a heck of a ballgame," Washington manager Davey Johnson said. "After closing and all the stuff he went through a couple of days ago, I was counting on him giving me six innings"

The Nationals added a run in the ninth when Bryce Harper led off with a double to right against Cubs left-hander James Russell and scored on Ian Desmond's single to right against Kevin Gregg, the fifth Chicago pitcher.

Gregg then walked Zimmerman and Jayson Werth before Denard Span delivered a two-out RBI single to score Zimmerman for a 4-1 edge.

Donnie Murphy's leadoff homer for the Cubs in the ninth off Soriano trimmed the Washington lead to 4-2.

Zimmerman, Rendon, Harper Desmond and Wilson Ramos also had two hits for Washington.

Washington jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Harper singled, then was forced out on Desmond's grounder. Desmond scored from first on Zimmerman's double.

Chicago's Brian Bogusevic tied the score with his first home run of the season in the fourth. He launched a high, deep fly to center on a 2-2 pitch by Haren for his first home run since Sept. 29, 2012, at Milwaukee.

A day after they piled up 11 runs, the Cubs fell back to low single-digit production.

"We score on home runs," Cubs manager Dale Sveum. "We're struggling everywhere else right now."

NOTES: Chicago 1B Anthony Rizzo was back in the starting lineup after missing Monday's game with an unspecified illness. ... Washington sends RHP Ross Ohlendorf (2-0, 1.85 ERA) against Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta (1-0, 0.69) in Wednesday's third game of the four-game series. ... Nationals LHP Ian Krol is making his first trip to Chicago as a major-leaguer. He was born and raised in the area and was also a top pitcher for the suburban Class A Kane County Cougars, where he was pitcher of the year in 2010 while in the Oakland A's organization. ... In his past 21 games before Tuesday, Cubs C Welington Castillo had a .328 average with three doubles, two home runs and six RBIs.
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