CHICAGO – The also-ran Chicago Cubs learned a valuable lesson from the playoff-hopeful Los Angeles Dodgers: Don’t take anything for granted in a pennant race.
The Cubs held a three-run lead on Thursday night before they came apart in an 8-4 loss that snapped their three-game winning streak.
Chicago allowed seven runs and committed three errors in the final three innings.
Cubs starter Tsuyoshi Wada pitched five solid innings, allowing one run and five hits. He had five strikeouts. The left-hander faced just nine hitters in the first three innings.
The 33-year-old Wada was told that this start would be his final one of the season. He has been bothered by a left hamstring in recent weeks.
“Looking back, personally, I feel that I had a good year when you consider I didn’t have any major league numbers,” Wada said through an interpreter.
Limited to no runs and five singles in the first six innings, the Dodgers broke out for five runs in the seventh. They moved 2½ games ahead of idle San Francisco in the NL West race.
“They kept grinding,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of the Dodgers. “Those are the things we talk about — playing nine innings of baseball. We’ve been talking about that since spring training. They saw an example of what can happen (otherwise).”
While Los Angeles made several mistakes in the field and on the basepaths, Chicago looked to be the more focused team. The momentum changed abruptly in the seventh, when the Dodgers sent eight batters to the plate against Neil Ramirez (2-3), the third of seven Cubs pitchers. All but one of the five runs was unearned.
Dee Gordon and pinch hitter Andre Ethier hit RBI doubles during the rally, when six of the first eight hitters reached base on five hits and an error.
Cubs rookie second baseman Logan Watkins couldn’t handle Juan Uribe’s hard-hit grounder with one out. That allowed the first run to score on a fielder’s choice.
Eight Dodgers had one RBI apiece.
Nationals 6, Marlins 2
In Miami, Gio Gonzalez allowed two runs in seven innings and Bryce Harper had three hits as Washington kept up its push for home-field advantage in the NL playoffs by beating the Marlins.
Kevin Frandsen and Anthony Rendon each had two hits for the Nationals.
Rockies 7, Diamondbacks 6
In Denver, Wilin Rosario hit a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth as Colorado rallied past Arizona.
Rosario finished with four hits to lift the Rockies into a fourth-place tie with the Diamondbacks in the NL West.
Padres 7, Phillies 3
In San Diego, Robbie Erlin pitched six strong innings, and Alexi Amarista and Will Venable homered as the Padres defeated Philadelphia.
Erlin (4-4), slowed by a sore elbow this season, allowed a run on five hits in his first start since May 17. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter.
Kyle Kendrick (9-13) struggled in his five innings. He gave up three runs on six hits, five walks and a hit batter.
Cardinals 3, Brewers 2 (13)
In St. Louis, Tony Cruz singled in the winning run in the 13th inning as the Cardinals moved closer to their second straight NL Central title, beating Milwaukee.
The defending National League champions took two of three in a tight series that featured only 12 runs. St. Louis leads the division by 2½ games with nine games to go.
Pirates 3, Red Sox 2
In Pittsburgh, the host Pirates got a lucky break when Boston pinch runner Jemile Weeks was hit by a batted ball in the ninth inning in a win over the Red Sox.