WASHINGTON – Jayson Werth turned boos to cheers by scoring the winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th inning, and the Washington Nationals snagged another one-run victory with a 5-4, Fourth of July matinee win over the Chicago Cubs on Monday.
Werth opened the inning by drawing a walk off Marcos Mateo (1-2), then advanced on a sacrifice by pinch-hitting pitcher Livan Hernandez. Mateo was replaced by Carlos Marmol, and Werth stole third on Marmol's first pitch to Ivan Rodriguez.
Then Marmol uncorked a 2-2 pitch that sailed way outside to Rodriguez. Werth scored and was mobbed by his teammates, a welcome celebration for a slugger who has struggled in his first season in Washington.
The Nationals' last eight wins have been either by one run or in extra innings, and four of their last eight home games have been walkoff victories. They are outscoring teams 58-26 for the season in the ninth inning and later.
Henry Rodriguez (3-1), pitched the 10th to get the win for the Nationals, who improved to 3-5 under manager Davey Johnson and are back again at .500.
Werth, batting .224, finished with his first two-RBI game since May 31. He drove in a run with a broken bat single in the first and had an RBI groundout in the sixth. He played despite getting hit by a pitch on his left wrist Sunday. Johnson said he would have liked to rest the outfielder, but the Nationals also started without third baseman Zimmerman (sore abdomen) and first baseman Michael Morse (bruised forearm).
But Werth was also struck out by Cubs reliever Kerry Wood with the bases loaded to end the seventh, giving fans another reason to serenade him with boos.
Werth had an outfield assist, too, ending an inning by throwing out Carlos Pena when Pena tried to score from second on Geovany Soto's single.
Wood's game was nearly as adventurous as Werth's. He entered with two outs in the seventh and walked pinch-hitter Zimmerman and plunked Danny Espinosa in the back with two strikes to load the bases. Then he walked Laynce Nix to forced in a run, tying the game at 4.
Wood struck out Werth, then stayed in the game in the next inning and continued to mix wildness with effectiveness. His final line: one inning, three walks, three strikeouts, one wild pitch, one hit batter.
The Cubs opened a seven-game road trip by ending a seven-game Nationals Park winning streak. One of the wins in that streak came last Aug. 23, when Casey Coleman earned his first victory in Mike Quade's managerial debut following the sudden resignation of Lou Piniella.
Quade, Coleman and the Cubs have all struggled since then, with Chicago well under .500 approaching the All-Star break. Coleman had a 7.78 ERA in his two previous stints with the Cubs this season and was recalled from the minors for this game after scheduled starter Ryan Dempster was hospitalized over the weekend with stomach and back pain.
Coleman allowed three runs over 5 1-3 innings, one of them unearned following a booted groundball by first baseman Carlos Pena in the first inning.
Starter Jordan Zimmermann allowed four runs over six innings for the Nationals. Two of the runs weren't Zimmermann's fault: He appeared to have the side retired in the fourth on Alfonso Soriano's towering fly to swallow right-center, but center fielder Roger Bernadina was slow to take charge and the ball dropped for a two-run double.
NOTES: Quade said Dempster is day to day but is expected to make another start before the All-Star break. ... To make room for Coleman, reliever Chris Carpenter was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. ... Zimmerman was feeling sore in the abdominal area where he had surgery earlier this year. He was removed for a pinch runner immediately after he walked as a pinch hitter in the seventh. "Anything like that, I'm not taking a chance where he might reinjure that thing," Johnson said. ... Morse has a bruised forearm after getting hit by a pitch Saturday night. He was also available to pinch hit if needed, but Johnson opted instead to send Jason Marquis to the plate in the eighth and another off-day starting pitcher, Hernandez, up in the 10th. Marquis struck out looking. ... Nix played his first major league game at first base, moving from left field during a double switch in the seventh.