The start of Thursday’s game between the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals was delayed by two hours because of rain.
That merely delayed the suspense, as Donnie Murphy hit a two-run home run off Stephen Strasburg in the bottom of the ninth inning.
But Washington rallied for a run in the top of the 13th to seize a 5-4 win and hand the Cubs their ninth loss in 13 games.
Denard Span led off the 13th with a double against Michael Bowden, the Cubs’ sixth pitcher. Span moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Steven Lombardozzi and scored on an infield grounder.
In the bottom of the 13th, Anthony Rizzo reached first on a throwing error by Lombardozzi at short, but Dioner Navarro grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Washington scored three runs in the first two innings against Cubs left-hander Travis Wood and held a 4-1 lead entering the ninth.
But Nationals shortstop Anthony Rendon committed a throwing error with two out in the ninth that allowed Nate Schierholtz to score and bring Murphy to the plate. Muprhy’s homer was his eighth in 16 games with the Cubs.
Wood allowed a home run to Ryan Zimmerman in the first, and Strasburg helped his cause with an RBI single and Rendon hit a sacrifice fly in the second. Lombardozzi hit a home run to start the seventh off Wood.
Strasburg lost his shutout bid when Brian Bogusevic hit a home run to start the eighth.
Before Lombardozzi’s homer, Wood had retired 14 of the past 15 batters, with Tyler Moore reaching base with two out in the third on a throwing error by shortstop Starlin Castro that snapped a streak of 29 consecutive errorless games by Castro.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum didn’t mess around with the lineup by keeping Rizzo in the second spot after Rizzo hit two home runs Wednesday while hitting in the second spot for the first time in his career.
“I’m not going to move success,” Sveum said. “I’m not even thinking about that right now.’’
Sveum downplayed the significance of keeping Rizzo in the second spot, adding that Carlos Beltran hits in second spot for St. Louis and moves to other spots “once in a while.”
Rizzo, however, struck out in each of his first two at-bats against Strasburg and went 0-for-6.