Jimmy Cordero gave up this game-winner to suffer his second loss, as the Cubs have now won two in a row to extend their NL Central lead to 2.5 games over the Milwaukee Brewers. This was also Daniel Murphy's first game back against the Nationals since they traded him to the Cubs at the end of August. He finished the night 1-for-5 with a strikeout in his first game back, as Washington dealt him to Chicago on August 21st.
The Nationals did hold a 3-2 lead for a while in this game, but they have now dropped three in a row to fall three games under .500 at 69-72. That puts them that far under .500 for the first time since April 30th.
Pedro Strop pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his fifth win in relief, as the Cubs moved six games over .500 away from home this season. Jesse Chavez closed things out in the 10th for his third save, sealing the series opening victory on the road.
Meanwhile, the AL Central leaders also had their way on the road, as the Cleveland Indians beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night, 9-4, at the Rogers Centre. Francisco Lindor had four hits on the night, including two home runs to give him 33 of them on the season. That supported Shane Bieber, who earned his ninth win of the season by staying unbeaten in nine road starts.
The rookie Bieber pitched in to the seventh and struck out six to lead Cleveland to their third straight victory. Their AL Central lead is much more comfortable than the National League Central, as they are 16.5 games ahead of the Minnesota Twins for first place. Their magic number to clinch the division title is already down to seven.
Lindor's big night was good for his sixth-career multi-home run game from the leadoff spot, which is a major league record. This included his 10th-career leadoff home run in the first inning, and seventh this season, as he added another in the third inning. This was his eighth-career multi-home run game overall, as he added two other singles and drove in four on the night.
Jason Kipnis added insurance late with a three-run blast off of Mark Leiter Jr. in the ninth inning, giving "The Tribe" their 80th win of the season. Bieber is now 5-0 away from home on the mound for the first-place Indians, who will play three more games north of the border this weekend.