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Fly The W: Rizzo, Hendricks Lead Cubs Past Nats In NLDS Game 1, 3-0

By Stephen Gossett in News on Oct 7, 2017 5:05AM

The Chicago Cubs picked up their postseason play where they left off in 2016. The defending World Series champs took Game One of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals on Friday night, 3-0, at Nationals Park.

It didn’t come easy at first. Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg (well, one of their aces) was dominant early, going hitless through five innings while giving up just one walk. He racked up 10 strikeouts total through seven.

But the Cubs were finally able to get to the starting pitcher in the sixth inning and made it count. Javier Baez reached on a high-chopper fielding error by Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks. After a flyout by Ben Zobrist, Kris Bryant then batted Baez home on a line drive single to right. Next up, Anthony Rizzo knocked an RBI single as well, giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead and officially delivering the Bryzzo connection.

Rizzo delivered again in the top of the eighth with a two-out RBI double that scored Jon Jay, who had reached with a leadoff pinch-hit double, to pad the lead to 3-0.

Setup man Carl Edwards Jr. made easy work of the bottom of the eighth, striking out two and getting Bryce Harper to pop out. Closer Wade Davis polished off the shutout with a one-two-three ninth.

Hendricks meanwhile was excellent through seven innings of work, giving up just two hits, three walks and no runs while striking out six batters.

Game Two is Saturday at 4:38 p.m. The Cubs' Jon Lester (13-8, 4.33) will square off against Gio Gonzalez (15-9, 2.96).