Nats' bullpen crumbles in 3-run ninth vs. Cubs

Nats' bullpen crumbles in 3-run ninth vs. Cubs

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals' bullpen has proven time and again that anything is possible against it, regardless of the lead it holds. That was reinforced Thursday against the Cubs.

With two outs in the top of the ninth and the Nationals ahead by two, the Cubs laced together three consecutive hits and three runs to take the lead before Wade Davis threw a scoreless bottom of the ninth inning to seal the 5-4 victory.

"A win's a win -- it doesn't matter how it looks, how we get there," Chicago starter Jon Lester said. "We'll take two of four from a really good team. Hopefully, this can build a little momentum for us."

Davis K's Difo for the save

The Nationals lost more than the game, revealing afterward that shortstop Trea Turner had a broken bone in his right wrist from a HBP in the seventh. Turner was hit by a Pedro Strop fastball, but stayed in the game until the top of the ninth when he was replaced by Stephen Drew in a double switch. Postgame X-rays revealed the fracture.

The Nationals did not announce a timetable for Turner's return. Braves star Freddie Freeman sustained a similar injury six weeks ago and is expected to begin a rehab assignment this weekend. Washington has 13 weeks remaining in the regular season and holds a 9 1/2-game lead over Atlanta in the National League East.

• Turner to miss an extended period with wrist fracture

The loss marked the Nationals' Majors-leading sixth when entering the ninth with a lead. 

"I just didn't execute," said Blake Treinen, who's 3-for-5 in save opportunities this season. "Joe [Ross] threw a great game, and the offense did everything they could to get us out of here with a win, and I came in and didn't do my job. I need to be better. It's getting exhausting, and I'm sure these guys are sick of seeing the same result when I'm out there."

The Nationals claimed the lead in the seventh inning when Anthony Rendon hit a two-run homer and Brian Goodwin knocked an RBI single. The lead lasted until Jon Jay's double scored the tying and winning runs.

Goodwin's RBI single

"That was a big rally," Jay said of the Cubs' three-run ninth. "We kept the line moving and had some great at-bats there."

Radio Call: Jay's clutch hit

The Cubs' success against the Nationals' bullpen spoiled Ross' second quality start in as many outings. The right-hander allowed two runs and struck out seven in 6 2/3 innings. Lester allowed just one run in his six innings and struck out seven.

Lester hurls six strong innings

"We are a really good team now," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said, "but we still need some help."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Man on the run: Turner ran all over the Cubs this series, stealing seven bases and setting a career high with 35 swiped bags for the season Thursday. On Tuesday, the Nationals stole seven bases, including four from Turner, with Miguel Montero behind the plate.

Turner stole two more bases Thursday, but the Cubs caught him stealing for the first time in the four-game set when he delayed his steal of third in the first inning, limiting the Nationals to just one run in the frame. Willson Contreras also caught speedster Michael Taylor stealing second in the fifth inning, stabilizing Washington on the basepaths for the first time this series.

Turner steals second

Candy man: The Cubs were without Kris Bryant (ankle), but rookie Jeimer Candelario filled in at third, hitting his first Major League home run leading off the seventh for a brief 2-1 lead. Candelario was making his fourth consecutive start since he was called up when Jason Heyward (hand) went on the disabled list. The rookie launched an 0-1 pitch from Ross 425 feet to right-center.

Candelario's first career homer

"I was trying to throw a fastball inside," Ross said. "It was just left over the middle. He put a good swing on it and put it out to right field. It was a hot day today, so kind of off the bat I knew it was gone."

Candelario was hit by a pitch on the left knee in the ninth. He stayed in the game, but could barely run to second. X-rays were negative and he has a painful contusion.

Candelario stays in the game

'Frosh' faces spark Cubs lineup

QUOTABLE
"Obviously, [the Nationals'] starting pitching is outstanding, they have some speed and just like advertised, their bullpen, they're probably going to do something about that. The starting pitching is outstanding, power, speed, good defense. They played really well. We got to their bullpen tonight. I think what we had heard [about them] coming in was pretty much true."
-- Cubs manager Joe Maddon

"[Treinen's] got great stuff, probably the best stuff on the team. So to even see him get hit sometimes, I'm pretty surprised."
-- Ross

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Davis retired the side in the ninth to pick up his 16th save in 16 tries. His 16 consecutive save conversions to begin the season extends the Cubs' franchise record.

BAKER EJECTED
Baker was fired up after Ryan Raburn struck out in the sixth inning, seeming to believe Raburn fouled the ball off on the final pitch. Baker left the dugout and argued with first-base umpire David Rackley before he was ejected for the first time in his two years with the Nationals.

Baker tossed after arguing

WHAT'S NEXT
Cubs: Mike Montgomery will make his fifth start on Friday when the Cubs open a three-game series against the Reds. The lefty is coming off a loss to the Marlins in which he gave up three unearned runs in the first inning, then didn't allow another. First pitch will be 6:10 p.m. CT from Great American Ball Park.

Nationals: Tanner Roark will look for his first quality start since June 4 when the Nationals begin a three-game series against the Cardinals at 8:15 p.m. ET Friday at Busch Stadium. Washington won the series when the teams met in April.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington who covered the Nationals on Thursday.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.