CHICAGO -- The wind was finally blowing out at Wrigley Field on Monday, and Chicago Cubs
batters embraced the change of pace.
Led by Nate Schierholtz
's two home runs and career-high six RBIs, the Cubs coasted to an 11-1 victory over the visiting Washington Nationals
in the opener of a four-game series.
Chicago also got a complete game from right-handed starter Jeff Samardzija
(7-11), who allowed just one run on six hits while striking out five in his first nine-inning performance since late May.
The Cubs hit five homers, matching a season high set on July 9 against the Los Angeles Angels. And the wind seemed to help, blowing out for only the 13th time in 63 home games to date.
"Pitching, obviously the hitting, everything clicked today against a team that's been swinging the bats pretty good," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "And Samardzija was really good."
Schierholtz, who went 3-for-4, clubbed a three-run homer in the first inning, doubled in a run in the third and hit his 18th homer of the season -- a two-run shot -- in the seventh as the Cubs snapped a two-game losing streak.
"I'm just trying to put good at-bats and help the team out," Schierholtz said. "I'm just trying to keep it simple." Donnie Murphy
was 2-for-4 with solo home runs in the fourth and eighth innings, while Dioner Navarro
had a three-run homer in the fifth inning
Samardzija pitched his second complete game of the season and earned his first win since a 3-1 decision on July 19. He did not walk a batter Monday.
"I went 3-0 two or three times and just trusted my stuff," Samardzija said. "Really it comes down to getting the runs that we got ... You put up four or five home runs and eight, nine runs allows you to really calm down."
Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann gave up three homers as he worked five innings and allowed eight earned runs on seven hits. He struck out five and walked a pair.
"I felt fine, I just made a few mistakes and I made them at the wrong time," Zimmermann said. "A hanging curve ball and a fast ball that was pretty much middle and the two home runs killed me. I can live with a solo home run and a few base hits, but when you get guys on, you really have to buckle down."
Nationals reliever Fernando Abad gave up Schierholtz's second homer as he worked two innings in relief. Ian Krol worked the eighth and allowed Murphy's second homer of the game.
The loss was the fourth in five games for the Nationals.
Wilson Ramos broke the shutout with a seventh-inning solo home run to left with two out.
David DeJesus, acquired in a pregame trade from the Cubs, pinch hit in the seventh for Washington and received a big hand. DeJesus popped up to end the inning and remained in the game in center field.
The Cubs claimed a 3-0 lead with one out in the first on Schierholtz's 17th home run of the season. Schierholtz lined Zimmermann's 2-2 pitch to right field, driving home Junior Lake and Darwin Barney.
In the third inning, Washington had leadoff batter Denard Span in scoring position and Ryan Zimmerman at first with two out. But Bryce Harper grounded to short to end the threat.
The Cubs made it 4-0 in the third as Schierholtz collected his fourth RBI when he lined a double to the right field, scoring Barney, who had reached on a one-out single to left.
Murphy tagged Zimmermann for a solo home run in the fourth, giving Chicago a 5-0 lead.
The Cubs had Lake at second and Barney at third with none out in the fifth, setting the stage for Navarro's three-run homer to right-center and an 8-0 lead. The homer was Navarro's 11th.
NOTES: DeJesus was traded to the Nationals for a player to be named later in a surprise transaction prior to Monday's game. DeJesus, 33, was batting .250 in 84 games and is a career .279 hitter. ... Chicago then activated outfielder Brian Bogusevic from the 15-day disabled list after he recovered from a left hamstring strain. ... Lake took over DeJesus' former leadoff spot. ... The acquisition of DeJesus was a move by a team still in contention for a National League wild card race. The Nationals started the day 9 1/2 games behind St. Louis and Cincinnati and four games in back of Arizona in the wild card chase. ... This week's series is Washington's lone trip to Wrigley Field. ... RHP Dan Haren enters Tuesday's start against Cubs LHP Chris Rusin with the Nationals' lowest ERA (2.30) since July 1.
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