Washington Nationals vs. Chicago Cubs: Nats Win, Play Comeback Kids Again

Michael Nargi@NargOnSportsSenior Analyst IApril 7, 2012

LaRoche and Zimmerman celebrate their comeback victory on Saturday afternoon.
LaRoche and Zimmerman celebrate their comeback victory on Saturday afternoon.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals found themselves trailing the Chicago Cubs 4-2 at the beginning of the eighth inning.

But by the end of the eight, the Nationals took a 7-4 lead, which was the ballgame's final score.

The Nationals rally began with two outs in the eighth inning and no one on base. Then, Danny Espinosa battled Kerry Wood in a 10-pitch at bat that resulted in Espinosa depositing a ball in the left field bleachers. The home run brought the Nats within one, 4-3.

Ryan Zimmerman delivered with a broken bat single, and Adam LaRoche singled, before Wood was pulled from the game.

The Cubs' Carlos Marmol entered but didn't have better results. He walked Jayson Werth and set up a bases loaded at bat for pinch hitter Chad Tracy.

Tracy delivered with a single that scored two runs and gave the Nats a 5-4 lead. The scoring continued, as Roger Bernadina doubled and Steve Lombardozzi beat out an infield single, each driving in another run.

After a similar comeback on Opening Day, the Nationals find themselves sitting at 2-0 to start the season. The only negative from Saturday's game was the performance of newly acquired Gio Gonzalez.

Gonzalez only lasted 3.2 innings while allowing four runs, walking three and striking out six. The bullpen shut the door, however, and allowed for the comeback to take place.

Ryan Matteus pitched an impressive seventh inning, striking out two and earning the win. Tyler Clippard labored in the eighth but struck out Reed Johnson to make it out of the inning unscathed.

Rodriguez closed the door on the Cubs.
Rodriguez closed the door on the Cubs.Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Henry Rodriguez was called upon to record the save on Saturday.

He walked the first batter of the inning despite hitting 100 mph on the radar gun. He went on to impressively strike out the next three batters and recorded the save in the 7-4 Nats' victory.

Adam LaRoche led the Nats in offense with four hits, including a home run, while scoring two runs and knocking in two RBIs.

Washington is proving that they are legitimate contenders in the National League early on in 2012. On Saturday, they showed that they possess a key quality in playoff caliber teams—a never-say-die mentality.

The Nats now look to sweep the first series of the year in Chicago at 2:20 p.m. Sunday, when they send Jordan Zimmermann to the mound.