CHICAGO – The catcher had a career day and wanted to talk about his batterymate.
The pitcher was pretty sharp himself and he wanted to talk about his catcher.
And so it goes for the Chicago Cubs, who are developing some chemistry and winning games after a forgettable start to a season.
John Baker had three hits, a walk and four RBI in a 7-2 victory over Washington on Friday, and Jason Hammel continued his dominance of the Nationals, giving up two runs over 6 1/3 innings.
Huge game, Hammel said in reference to Baker. He was the hero today, for sure – three big hits and he put down some good fingers for me, and that’s pretty much all we needed.
Baker responded in kind.
I’m more happy about Jason being able to win again, the catcher said. He has pitched well the last few outings, so anything I can do to help out makes me happy.
Hammel (7-5) gave up five hits and one walk en route to his seventh victory in seven decisions against the Nationals in his career.
Chicago won for the 21st time in 38 games amid speculation that Hammel and other veterans could be moved before the trade deadline.
(The players) have been developing a personality as a team, manager Rick Renteria said. They’re having fun and getting to know each other, doing whatever it takes to play the game (the right way).
A .160 hitter at game time, Baker capped his big day with a bases-loaded, three-run double off reliever Jerry Blevins in the seventh inning. The four RBI matched Baker’s career high for one game and doubled his season total to eight.
Chris Coghlan, Justin Ruggiano and Ryan Sweeney each had a pair of hits in the 13-hit attack.
Washington starter Tanner Roark (7-5) gave up four runs on 10 hits and one walk over six innings.
After Adam LaRoche’s solo homer to right field tied the score at 2 in the fourth inning, Hammel retired the next 10 batters before Wilson Ramos singled with one out in the seventh inning. Reliever Brian Schlitter then induced Ian Desmond to hit into an inning-ending double play.
The Cubs never looked back after Sweeney’s two-out, two-run single gave them a 4-2 lead in the fourth inning.
Notes: Cubs OF Junior Lake was cleared by team physicians but did not play. He left the series opener Thursday after hitting his head against a steel door right-center field. ... The Nationals are hoping that OF Bryce Harper (left thumb surgery) will return next week.