Cubs rely on Rusin versus Nationals

Lefty Chris Rusin faces the Washington Nationals for the second time in his 14th big-league start on Tuesday night when the Chicago Cubs host them for the second game in a four-game series at Wrigley Field.

A 26-year-old from Detroit, Rusin debuted in the majors last season and went 2-3 in seven starts with the Cubs while allowing a .314 opposition batting average and striking out 21 in 29 2/3 innings.

He met the Nationals in the second of those seven starts and retired just three batters while being raked for five runs on eight hits in a game the Cubs ultimately lost, 11-5, at Washington.

Rusin opened this season with two wins in his first three decisions before falling back to .500 with a 5-0 loss to Cincinnati in his most recent start on Aug. 14.

In four career starts at Wrigley, he's 1-2 with a 5.57 earned run average across 21 innings, as opposed to his 3-3 record in nine road starts with a 4.17 ERA.

Washington opposes him with 32-year-old righty Dan Haren, who returns to a starting assignment after picking up his first career save in his most recent appearance on Aug. 17 in Atlanta.

The California native opened this season with 22 consecutive starts before being called into action for a one-inning relief stint that closed out an 8-7 defeat of the Braves.

He'd gone 3-0 in four starts prior, allowing just four runs in 27 innings while surrendering 14 hits, walking five batters and striking out 25 others.

Haren is 1-2 in five lifetime starts against the Cubs.

On Monday, Nate Schierholtz capped a career-high six-RBI performance with his second home run on the night and the Cubs rode Jeff Samardzija's complete game in a 11-1 rout of the 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.

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 won two of three when the teams last played in Washington from May 10 to 12.