Bote’s grand slam in 9th lifts Cubs over Nationals 4-3

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CHICAGO (AP) Pinch-hitter David Bote smashed a grand slam against Ryan Madson with two outs in the ninth inning to lift the Chicago Cubs to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Sunday night.

Bote’s long drive to center field came after Washington’s Max Scherzer and Chicago’s Cole Hamels delivered simply dominant starts.

Madson (2-5) came in with a 3-0 lead to start the ninth and quickly ran into trouble.

He gave up an infield single to Jason Heyward with one out and hit Albert Almora with a pitch. Madson then retired Kyle Schwarber on a foul pop before hitting Contreras to load the bases, but Bote drove a 2-2 pitch well beyond the center-field wall.

Teammates mobbed him as he crossed the plate and fans chanted “Bote! Bote!” It was quite a turn after the Cubs got shut down for most of the night. But they managed to take two of three in the first meeting between these teams since Chicago won the NL Division Series last year.

Bote’s drive made a winner of Justin Wilson (4-3), who got the final two outs in the ninth.

The Nationals managed just three hits, but looked as though they were on their way with Scherzer tossing three-hit ball over seven scoreless innings. The three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out 11 and walked one.

Hamels was about as good, giving up just one run and one hit in seven innings. He struck out nine and walked one in his third start since Chicago acquired him from Texas.

The only hit he allowed was Daniel Murphy‘s single in the second to put runners on first and third. Mark Reynolds then drove in Ryan Zimmerman with a sacrifice fly.

The Nationals did not get another hit until Trea Turner tripled against Brandon Kintzler in the ninth. Back-to-back walks to Juan Soto and Bryce Harper – the second being intentional – loaded the bases for Zimmerman, who then chased Kintzler with an RBI single.

Wilson then retired Murphy on fly to left before Reynolds struck out looking.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: The Nationals held 3B Anthony Rendon out of the lineup for the second straight game because of a sore left wrist. … Closer Sean Doolittle (left toe inflammation) hopes to start throwing off the mound in the next day or two. He has not pitched since July 6.

Cubs: The Cubs activated RHP Anthony Bass (right mid-thoracic strain) and assigned him to Triple-A Iowa after he cleared waivers.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Washington opens a four-game series at surging St. Louis, with LHP Tommy Milone (1-1, 5.50 ERA) starting for the Nationals and RHP Miles Mikolas (12-3, 2.74) pitching for the Cardinals.

Cubs: Send LHP Jose Quintana (10-8, 4.28) to the mound when they open a two-game series against Milwaukee on Tuesday. Quintana is 3-0 in his past four starts at Wrigley Field. RHP Jhoulys Chacin (11-4, 3.91) pitches for the Brewers.

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Indians send down Clevinger, Plesac after virus blunder

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
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CLEVELAND — After hearing Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac explain their actions, the Cleveland Indians sent the pitchers to their alternate training site on Friday after the two broke team rules and Major League Baseball coronavirus protocol last weekend in Chicago.

Clevinger and Plesac drove to Detroit separately with their baseball equipment on Thursday for an “open forum” meeting at the team’s hotel before the Indians opened a series with the Tigers.

Indians President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti said following “the discussion” that he met with manager Terry Francona, general manager Mike Chernoff and decided it was best to option Plesac and Clevinger to the alternate training site instead of allowing them to rejoin the team.

“We had a chance to meet as small group and decided this would be the best path of action for us,” Antonetti said.

So before the opener, the Indians activated Clevinger and Plesac from the restricted list and optioned them to Lake County.

It’s a stunning slide for the right-handers and close friends, both considered important pieces for the Indians. There’s no indication when they may be back on Cleveland’s roster. They’ll have to be at Lake County for at least 10 days.

Last weekend, the pitchers broke the team’s code of conduct implemented during the pandemic by leaving the team hotel and having dinner and socializing with friends of Plesac’s and risking contracting the virus.

While the Indians got a car service to take Plesac back to Cleveland, Clevinger flew home with the team after not telling the Indians he had been out with his teammate.

Although both players have twice tested negative for COVID-19 this week, the Indians aren’t ready to have them back.

Earlier this week, pitcher Adam Plutko said he felt betrayed.

“They hurt us bad,” Plutko said after Cleveland’s lost 7-1 to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. “They lied to us. They sat here in front of you guys and publicly said things that they didn’t follow through on.”

Antonetti was asked if there are still hard feeling in the clubhouse toward the pair.

“We’re all a family,” Antonetti said. “We spend a lot of time together. Sometimes there are challenges in families you have to work through. I’d use that analogy as it applies here. There are things that have happened over the course of the last week that have been less than ideal and people have some thoughts and feelings about that.”

Both Clevinger and Plesac issued apologies in the days after their missteps. However, on Thursday, the 25-year-old Plesac posted a six-minute video on Instagram in which he acknowledged breaking team curfew but then aimed blame at the media, saying he and Clevinger were being inaccurately portrayed as “bad people.”

Antonetti said he watched the video.

“I’m not sure Zach was able to convey what he intended to convey in the video after having a chance to speak with him afterwards,” he said. “I think if he had a do-over, he may have said things a bit differently.”

Francona also felt Plesac could have chosen a better way to handle the aftermath.

“I was disappointed,” he said.