Harden helps Cubs beat Washington 6-2 in Riggleman’s debut as Nationals manager

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cubs spoil Riggleman’s debut as Nats manager

WASHINGTON — Rich Harden allowed three hits over six innings, Derrek Lee homered and the Chicago Cubs beat Washington 6-2 on Thursday night, spoiling the debut of Nationals’ interim manager Jim Riggleman.

Harden (6-6), who had won only one of his previous seven starts, improved to 4-1 on the road. He allowed an unearned run, walked none and struck out seven, including Adam Dunn three times.

A managerial change did little to ignite the Nationals, who have dropped seven of eight and own the majors’ worst record at 26-62. Riggleman, who previously managed the Cubs, San Diego and Seattle, replaced the fired Manny Acta on Monday after serving as his bench coach the first half of the season.

Lee had three hits and Ryan Theriot drove in two runs for the Cubs, who have won three of four.

Ryan Zimmerman hit his 15th homer for Washington, a ninth-inning solo shot off Kevin Gregg.

Chicago went up 1-0 in the third on an unearned run. Koyie Hill reached second on third baseman Zimmerman’s throwing error, moved to third on Harden’s sacrifice and scored on Theriot’s two-out double to left.

Lee’s 18th homer, a solo shot with one out in the sixth off a 3-2 fastball from John Lannan, made it 2-0.

The Nationals cut the lead in half in the bottom of the inning. Nyjer Morgan led off with a single, stole second, advanced to third on catcher Hill’s throwing error and scored on a groundout by Nick Johnson.

An RBI single by Reed Johnson restored the Cubs’ two-run lead in the seventh and knocked Lannan from the game. Jeff Baker led off with a single to second, was bunted to second and advanced to third on a groundout before Johnson’s single up the middle.

Lannan (6-7) gave up three runs — two earned — and seven hits over 6 2-3 innings. He walked one and struck out two.

In the ninth, Hill added an RBI single, another run scored on a fielding error by reliever Sean Burnett and Theriot added a sacrifice fly.

NOTES: Washington LHP Scott Olsen has been scratched from Saturday’s scheduled start because of back muscle tightness and will be replaced by RHP Craig Stammen. … Before the game, the Nationals recalled RHP Garrett Mock from Triple-A Syracuse. Mock will start Sunday. … The Cubs on Thursday signed LHP B.J. Ryan, who was cut July 8 by Toronto, to a minor league contract. Ryan will report to Chicago’s spring training complex in Mesa, Ariz., to work out before joining Triple-A Iowa. … Cubs manager Lou Piniella visited the White House on Thursday and he and his family had a five-minute meeting with President Barack Obama.

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