CHICAGO (AP) - With the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field, Ross Detwiler knew he had to be perfect.
The Washington pitcher surrendered a pair of home runs over five innings of work, though it wasn't a mistake on the mound that irked him.
``I know it would have been a tight game if I got a bunt down,' Detwiler said after the Nationals lost 4-2 to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.
Detwiler came to bat in the fifth inning with one on and one out, Washington trailing by a run. He popped up a 1-1 pitch to the right of the plate and Cubs catcher Geovany Soto easily tracked it down for the second out.
Rick Ankiel then doubled to put runners on second and third, but Danny Espinosa grounded out to second to end the threat.
``Get a bunt down, we score a run there, it's a completely different game,' Detwiler said.
Soto and Reed Johnson homered off Detwiler and Alfonso Soriano later connected for the Cubs.
The 25-year-old lefty (1-2) fell to 0-8 career on the road in 16 appearances, including 10 starts. Detwiler allowed three runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out five.
``I give him a C-plus for tonight,' Washington manager Davey Johnson said. ``The two ballparks he's pitched in lately, you have to be perfect, you can't make any mistakes. He minimized the damage tonight.'
Detwiler took a hard-luck loss his last time out in Colorado when he was charged with two runs over five innings.
``I have to go into a sixth inning and see how I feel there,' he said. ``I wasn't feeling tired at the end of the fifth or anything.'
Johnson acknowledged that Detwiler could have gone longer, but said he'd done his job.
``He's a young pitcher, I;m not going to let him get beat up,' Johnson explained. ``He kept us close.'
Rodrigo Lopez (3-3) allowed one earned run and five hits in 5 2-3 innings. He gave up 12 earned runs over 8 1-3 innings in his previous two starts.
The Nationals scored first, getting an unearned run in the opening inning on a throwing error by shortstop Starlin Castro that let Ryan Zimmerman to score all the way from first.
Zimmerman extended his hitting streak to 18 games. That's the second longest for the Nationals in the seven seasons since they moved to Washington from Montreal. Zimmerman had a 30-game hitting streak in 2009.
Jayson Werth hit a solo home run and singled for Washington.
``This time of year in Chicago, if you get one up, usually it will go,' Werth said. ``The ball was flying today. Unfortunately, we were just on the other side.'
The Cubs tied it in the second when Soto led off with his 12th homer of the season, a shot that just sneaked into the first row of the bleachers inside the left-field foul pole.
Chicago took the lead in the fourth but missed a chance at a big inning. Soto walked with one out and scored on Soriano's bloop double off the right-field line that a sliding Werth just missed running down.
``If there's 15 feet of foul ground, I might have a play on it,' Werth said. ``I'm not going to run full speed into the wall. You have to put yourself first sometimes out there and try to make the play. That's just one of those really well-placed baseballs.'
Washington then intentionally Darwin Barney with the pitcher on deck, but Lopez singled to center. The slow-running Soriano was unable to score on the play, leaving the bases loaded for Castro, the NL hits leader. Castro struck out, ending the threat.
Johnson put the Cubs up 3-1 with his fifth homer leading off the fifth.
Werth cut the lead to 3-2 in the sixth with a homer into the left-center field bleachers, his 14th of the season. That was it for Lopez, who departed after 89 pitches.
Reliever Collin Balester came on for Washington to begin the sixth. With one out, Soriano homered into left-center, his 20th home run of the season, putting the Cubs up 4-2. Soriano has now homered at least 20 times in 10 straight seasons, joining St. Louis' Albert Pujols and Boston's David Ortiz as the only players with to reach that mark in each season of the last decade.
Carlos Marmol struck out three in a scoreless ninth for his 25th save in 32 chances.
NOTES: Johnson said of ailing C Ivan Rodriguez, ``He's not doing too well. He's pushing it too hard and he's had a setback.' Rodriguez has been on the disabled list since July 7 with a strained right oblique. There is no current timetable for his return. ... The Cubs and Nationals wrap up their three-game series Thursday afternoon in a makeup of Monday's rainout. Ryan Dempster will look to continue his solid pitching of late in his start for the Cubs. He is 5-3 with a 3.26 ERA over his last 12 starts. Jordan Zimmermann will take the mound for Washington. Zimmermann has a 6.35 ERA in his two career starts against Chicago.
The Associated Press News Service
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