Nate Schierholtz capped a career-high six-RBI performance with his second home run on the night and the Chicago Cubs rode Jeff Samardzija's complete game in a 11-1 rout of the Washington Nationals.
Schierholtz finished 3-for-4 and the Cubs smacked five home runs as a team, with Donnie Murphy also clubbing a pair and Dioner Navarro providing a three- run shot in the opener of this four-game set.
Samardzija (7-11) was in full control, allowing just a Wilson Ramos home run and five more hits. He struck out five without walking a batter to get his first win in a month.
The Nationals lost for the fourth time in five tries, with starter Jordan Zimmermann (14-7) taking a beating. He was charged with eight runs on seven hits over five frames.
The Cubs gave Samardzija three runs to work with after their first turn at the plate. Junior Lake led off with a double, Dioner Navarro reached with a walk and Schierholtz cleared the bags with a blast into the right field seats.
"To get out of that and hit a home run and give us a three-run lead was huge," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum.
Schierholtz provided some more support during his next plate appearance in the third. With Darwin Barney aboard, Schierholtz knocked him in from first with a double into right field, opening up a 4-0 Chicago lead.
Zimmermann's struggles continued, with the right-hander serving up two more homers before recording an out in the fifth. Murphy blasted one to begin the fourth and the Nationals fell into an 8-0 hole on Navarro's three-run shot an inning later.
"I can live with a solo home run or a few base hits, but when you get guys on you have to really buckle down and make some pitches. I wasn't able to do that tonight," said Zimmermann.
Samardzija didn't surrender an extra base hit until the seventh, when Washington finally got on the board on Ramos' homer.
Schierholtz and Murphy provided more fuel to the fire, with each tacking on their second home runs of the game. Schierholtz cleared the fence with a two- run shot in the seventh and Murphy's solo blast an inning later accounted for the final margin.
The two teams completed a trade with one another prior to the start of the game, with the Cubs sending outfielder David DeJesus to the Nationals in exchange for a player to be named later. DeJesus entered in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and went 0-for-1 ... The Nationals released outfielder Roger Bernadina ... Washington is 12-16 against teams from the NL Central this season.