for this game

Back-to-back homers vault Cubs over Nats

Aug 12, 2011 - 12:03 AM Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Back-to-back seventh-inning home runs by Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena propelled the Chicago Cubs to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals in the rubber match of a three-game series.

Ryan Dempster (10-8) threw seven strong innings, allowing one run on three hits and two walks while striking out six in the Cubs' ninth win in 11 games.

Carlos Marmol worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to earn his 26th save of the year.

Jordan Zimmermann (7-10) allowed four runs on nine hits and two walks through 6 2/3 innings. He also struck out seven in Washington's fifth defeat in eight games.

Marmol walked Jonny Gomes and Laynce Nix around a hard grounder to third by Jayson Werth that Ramirez couldn't handle to load the bases with no outs in the ninth. Marmol fanned Ian Desmond before Wilson Ramos hit a high-bouncing grounder for an infield single to make it a one-run game. Marmol settled in, however, striking out Brian Bixler and getting Rick Ankiel to fly out to deep left-center to end the game.

"We didn't wake up until about the eighth inning," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "I really thought we had them. He (Marmol) was really erratic and wild. I thought when Ankiel hit the ball, I thought maybe the wind would blow that one out, but it just wasn't meant to be."

Washington took an early lead on Ryan Zimmerman's two-out, solo home run in the first.

After a one-out single by Marlon Byrd in the fourth, Alfonso Soriano slapped a shot into the right-center field gap. The ball deflected off the tip of Werth's glove as he made a diving effort, resulting in a run-scoring triple. Soriano was stranded at third, though, when Darwin Barney popped up to second and Dempster struck out following an intentional walk to Koyie Hill to keep it a 1-1 game.

Reed Johnson hit a two-out single in the seventh. Ramirez then hammered a 1-2 slider over the left-field wall to put the Cubs ahead. Pena followed with a bomb to right that landed on the street outside Wrigley Field to make the score 4-1 and knock Zimmermann out of the game.

"I was just trying to square him (Zimmerman) up," Pena said. "He was pitching very well, but in that inning we were able to get three off him. He was actually throwing the ball great."

Ryan Mattheus came on next and got Byrd to ground out to third to end the inning.

After Zimmerman's home run, Washington did not have a runner reach second base -- Danny Espinosa was caught stealing second twice -- until Desmond doubled off of Jeff Samrdzija to lead off the eighth. Desmond moved to third on a wild pitch and, after Ramos struck out, Sean Marshall took over on the mound.

Pinch-hitter Bixler then had a broken-bat, infield single to plate Desmond. Ankiel followed with a single to right and Marshall was replaced by Kerry Wood, who caught Espinosa looking on an 0-2 curveball and fanned Zimmerman on a 97 m.p.h. fastball to end the inning and keep it a 4-2 game.

Game Notes

Zimmerman extended his hit streak to 19 games...Nationals first baseman Michael Morse left the game in the seventh inning after he was hit in the wrist by a pitch...With the win, Dempster reached 10 wins for the fourth-straight season since returning to the starting rotation to begin the 2008 campaign...The Cubs have won three straight series for the first time this year...Starlin Castro went 0-for-4 to end his 10-game hit streak.