CHICAGO -- An epic win in what’s turning into an epic season. The Chicago Cubs came from behind to sweep the Washington Nationals in a thrilling 4-3 victory as Javier Baez won Sunday’s finale in the bottom of the 13th inning with a walk-off home run, in the process completing an incredible week for Cubs baseball. They swept the Nationals after doing the same in Pittsburgh to the Pirates.
Once again, Joe Maddon used his entire bench to earn a victory, at one point letting reliever Trevor Cahill bat to lead off the seventh inning with the Cubs trailing by two. Cahill got a hit, and then a few minutes later, Jason Heyward sacrifice bunted for just the second time in his career. After Heyward's perfect bunt, Kris Bryant tied the game with a single. On and on, Maddon pushed the right buttons as Cahill threw three innings of relief before giving way to Adam Warren, Justin Grimm and finally Travis Wood.
But Maddon’s best moments came in the 10th and 12th innings. Twice with men on first and second and two outs, he intentionally walked Bryce Harper to load the bases, and both times, his relievers retired Ryan Zimmerman. Harper walked six times and was hit by a pitch as the free passes tied a record last achieved in 1999 by Jeff Bagwell, according to ESPN Stats and Information research. Harper reaching seven times without an official at-bat is also a record, according to Elias Sports Bureau research.
The momentum the Cubs have built 30 games into the season appears unstoppable right now. Even when Arrieta is off his game -- he got hit hard over five innings -- the Cubs find a way. Arrieta has lasted only five innings twice this year after doing so twice all of last year, according to ESPN Stats and Information research. But it’s no problem, as the Cubs have won both those starts, improving to 20-0 the past 20 times he hes taken the mound in the regular season. Only five teams since 1913 can make that claim. It was an incredible finish to an incredible week as the Cubs are 24-6, having won seven in a row.