Anibal Sanchez wanted to help his weary teammates with a strong performance on the mound.
The solid afternoon at the plate was an unexpected bonus.
Sanchez pitched one-hit ball into the ninth inning and helped himself with two perfectly placed bunts, leading the Washington Nationals to a 9-3 victory over the host Chicago Cubs on Friday.
“I’m not a good hitter, but if I can do something for the team on the home plate, it’s good,” Sanchez said.
Washington had a short turnaround with an early start after its 7-1 victory at Pittsburgh on Thursday night. The Nationals didn’t arrive in Chicago until early Friday morning, but their lineup looked as if it got more than enough rest.
“Proud of the boys,” manager Dave Martinez said. “They battled through a long night last night, came back here and (were) ready to play. They played really well and Anibal led that.”
Juan Soto and Adam Eaton homered as Washington improved to 13-4 in its past 17 games. It has outscored its opponents 129-66 since Aug. 5.
Chicago had won five in a row, but it was unable to overcome a shaky start by Jon Lester (10-9) and another rough performance at the plate. The Cubs, who fell into second in the NL Central, a half-game behind St. Louis, finished with three hits a day after they had two in a 1-0 victory over the Giants.
Braves 2, Mets 1: Billy Hamilton singled home the go-ahead run in the 14th inning for his first hit with Atlanta, and the visiting Braves won their sixth in a row. New York tied a major-league record by striking out 26 batters — including 13 by Jacob deGrom — but saw its five-game winning streak end.
Rays 7, Orioles 1: Austin Meadows hit his first career grand slam to cap a seven-run second inning against former Giants pitcher Ty Blach as visiting Tampa Bay moved a half-game ahead of the A’s in the race for the American League’s top wild-card spot.
Indians 4, Royals 1: Francisco Lindor hit a two-run homer in a four-run second inning as host Cleveland moved into a virtual tie with the A’s for the AL’s second wild-card spot. The Indians also moved to 2½ games behind Minnesota for the AL Central lead.
Tigers 9, Twins 6: Ronny Rodriguez had three hits, including his first career grand slam, and Drew VerHagen struck out 11 in a career-high six innings for visiting Detroit. Rodriguez’s blast slam capped a five-run sixth inning off All-Star Jose Berrios.
Marlins 19, Phillies 11: Starlin Castro homered twice and drove in five runs for host Miami, which erased a seven-run deficit. Isan Diaz hit a three-run homer and John Berti also went deep for the Marlins, who pounded out 19 hits.
Cardinals 8, Rockies 3: Jack Flaherty pitched six scoreless innings and Marcell Ozuna homered for host St. Louis.
Astros 5, Angels 4: Zack Greinke allowed two earned runs in 6 ⅔ innings to win his fourth straight start since joining Houston, which also got a two-run homer from Yuli Gurriel in its home win.
Brewers 6, Diamondbacks 1: Jordan Lyles, pulled after pitching six no-hit innings, combined with three relievers on a two-hitter and Eric Thames and Keston Hiura homered for host Milwaukee.
White Sox 8, Rangers 3: Yoan Moncada hit a two-run homer for the second straight night to lead host Chicago.
Pirates 3, Reds 2: Pablo Reyes singled home the winning run in the ninth for host Pittsburgh.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Anibal-Sanchez-helps-Nationals-end-Cubs-14375256.php.