Cubs vs Nationals Game 2: Five-run eighth gives Nats stunning win

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Clutch home runs by Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman in the eighth inning led the Washington Nationals to a 6-3 win over the Chicago Cubs, knotting the series at one.

Through 7 1/2 innings, the Chicago Cubs looked like they were about to go up 2-0, heading back to Wrigley with a big lead. Two home runs, five runs and two controversial decisions later, we are right back where we started: all tied up.

The Cubs went down early as Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon took Jon Lester deep just three batters into the game. Willson Contreras answered leading off the second as he smashed a Gio Gonzalez fastball into the left-field seats.

After the two southpaws exchanged a few 1-2-3 innings, Anthony Rizzo gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead with a two-run bomb in the fourth. The score would stay that way until the eighth inning.

Veteran pinch-hitter Adam Lind led off the eighth with a single in his first career postseason at-bat off of Carl Edwards. After a Trea Turner strikeout, Joe Maddon opted to keep Edwards, a right-hander, in against superstar left-handed power hitter Bryce Harper.

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Edwards made a colossal mistake, leaving a 3-1 curveball high in the strike zone to Harper, who proceeded to obliterate the ball 421 feet into the stratosphere. That was the first matchup mistake.

After a walk, Maddon replaced Edwards with Mike Montgomery, going with the lefty-on-lefty matchup against Daniel Murphy. The matchup proved ineffective, as Murphy singled to left. Maddon stuck with Montgomery against the right-handed power-hitting Ryan Zimmerman, who hit a go-ahead three-run homer to left.

Decisions. That’s what it comes down to in the postseason.

Tonight, these decisions proved costly. The Cubs certainly missed a few big opportunities to score, but tonight the Cubs lost solely because of the decisions to ignore the matchups.

Next: Chicago Cubs win Game 1 with timely hitting

The Nationals now take the huge momentum boost from this win to Chicago, as the two teams will face off Monday afternoon in a decisive game 3. Max Scherzer will get the ball for the Nationals, with Jose Quintana toeing the rubber for the Cubs.