Almora's double boosts Cubs over Nats
WASHINGTON — Albert Almora Jr. acknowledged his former Arizona Fall League foe when he batted against him in the ninth inning Tuesday night.
Then he spoiled the pitcher's night.
Almora drove in the go-ahead run with a ninth-inning double, Dexter Fowler had two hits and the Cubs defeated the Washington Nationals 4-3.
Addison Russell led off the ninth with a walk from Sammy Solis (1-2) and was sacrificed to second before Almora, who entered the game in the eighth inning, lined a shot to left center on the first pitch.
"We played against each other in the Fall League," Almora said of Solis. "We looked at each other. I gave him a little nod with the helmet. It was time to go to work. He made a good pitch and I just tried to stay up the middle and it fell for me."
The rookie outfielder joined the Cubs on June 7.
"The guy has been up here for five minutes," manager Joe Maddon said. "Goes up there and is not passive. He went up there, jumped on the first pitch and I loved it."
Solis bemoaned the leadoff walk.
"Can't do that, especially in a game like that," he said. "This hitting team, you can't give them any kind of edge and no outs man on first, it hurts."
Jason Heyward provided a two-run single for Chicago, which evened the three-game series between division leaders.
Washington, which had won four straight, tied it in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Anthony Rendon off closer Hector Rondon. Rondon (1-1) pitched the final 1 2/3 innings for the win.
"Based on how the game played, I just had to do it," Maddon said of using his closer in the eighth. "He's had plenty of rest so that was part of the reason I was able to do that."