The Nationals rallied for a 6-3 comeback win over the Cubs in Game 2 of National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile on Saturday to even the set at one game apiece. We were on the scene in and around Nationals Park.
8:42 p.m. ET: Doolittle does his thing
Nats closer Sean Doolittle entered in the ninth looking to seal the deal after Washington rallied for five in the eighth to take the lead. Doolittle struck out dangerous Cubs catcher Willson Contreras before allowing a one-out single to Addison Russell. But Ben Zobrist smacked a 2-1 fastball to third baseman Anthony Rendon, who started a 5-4-3 double play to end a 6-3 win and help the Nationals even the series, 1-1.
8:32 p.m. ET: Nats back in front on Zim's goner Ryan Zimmerman didn't allow Bryce Harper to have all of the fun. Three batters after Harper drilled a game-tying, two-run home run, Zimmerman added to the splendor of a five-run eighth inning with a three-run shot that gave the Nationals a 6-3 lead. Zimmerman's home run traveled a projected 368 feet per Statcast™ and snuck just over the left-field wall. It initially looked like Cubs left fielder Ben Zobrist might have caught the ball before Nationals Park erupted in celebration of the homer.
8:21 p.m. ET: Harper hammers tying homer
Bryce Harper electrified Nationals Park when he drilled a game-tying, two-run home run off Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. in the eighth inning. Harper paused at the plate to admire his handiwork as the ball sailed into the darkening Washington night, and he certainly had reason to: Per Statcast™, the homer had a 109-mph exit velocity and traveled a projected 421 feet into the second deck beyond the right-field wall. The impressive homer proved the Nationals outfielder doesn't have to be 100 percent to do special things. Harper has said he still hasn't returned to full strength after he missed much of August and September with a significant bone bruise in his left knee.
7:10 p.m. ET: Zim's zip
Ryan Zimmerman doesn't appear to fear of any improvements Jon Lester has made to try to hold runners. Zimmerman took an aggressive 27.1-foot lead beyond the cut of the infield grass before breaking for second, helping to negate the strong throw Willson Contreras made with one out in the fifth inning. Zimmerman then took third base on a wild pitch, but he was left stranded when Trea Turner struck out with the bases loaded, prompting an impassioned reaction from Lester at the conclusion of the 29-pitch frame.
7:00 p.m. ET: Red sea
The Nats may be down for now, but their fans know they're not out. Nationals Park is rocking with enthusiasm for both teams.
6:27 p.m. ET: Rizz-go!
After leading the Cubs to a 3-0 win in Game 1, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo put them on top on Saturday. Bryant led off the fourth inning against Gonzalez by ripping a 104.3-mph double to left field. Up came Rizzo, who smashed Gonzalez's 2-1 curveball into the outstretched hand of a fan in the first row of the right-field seats. Rizzo's two-run homer put the Cubs ahead, 3-1, and gave him four RBIs in 13 innings this series.
The umpires reviewed the home run call to see if the fan, wearing a No. 17 Bryant jersey, had interfered with the ball. But the ruling on the field was confirmed. It was Rizzo's sixth career postseason home run, a new Cubs record. Bryant also set a franchise high with his 13th extra-base hit in the postseason.
Lifelong Cubs fan Sean Thompson of New Kent, Va., said he definitely didn't go over the wall to catch Rizzo homer. pic.twitter.com/WyX0KNNdlZ
5:54 p.m. ET: Contreras pulls Cubs even
A day after relying on timely two-out hitting to beat the Nationals, the Cubs struck back and tied the game in the second inning Saturday with a long ball of their own. Down a run following Anthony Rendon's first-inning blast off Jon Lester, Willson Contreras led off the second inning with a fly ball off left-hander Gio Gonzalez that carried just over the left-field fence. The crowd came alive after Gonzalez's dominant first inning and Rendon's homer, but Contreras helped silence Nationals Park.
It was the second postseason homer of Contreras' young career; he went deep against Clayton Kershaw in the Cubs' 5-0, series-clinching win over the Dodgers in last year's NL Championship Series. It was also Contreras' second career homer off Gonzalez. He had been 1-for-2 against the Nats left-hander. More >
5:49 p.m. ET: Rendon gets Nats up early
Anthony Rendon gave the Nationals a much-welcomed early boost and a 1-0 lead as he drilled an opposite-field home run off Jon Lester during the first inning. Rendon took advantage of an elevated 1-1 fastball and then watched it stay just inside the right-field foul pole. His second career postseason homer accounted for the first run the Nationals have scored in this best-of-five series.
5:43 p.m. ET: Gio-logist
Gio Gonzalez was clinical in a 1-2-3 first inning to get Game 2 underway, striking out Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo to end the frame.
5:15 p.m. ET: Don't get a big head
Before taking the field later, the Racing Presidents walk through the concourse at Nationals Park, high-fiving fans and taking selfies.
4:49 p.m. ET: If you're happy and you know it
Fans might have to wait a little while to enter Nationals Park, but once they get in they can't stop smiling.
4:39 p.m. ET: Kris in bliss
Kris Bryant and the Cubs are all smiles during batting practice.
3:54 p.m. ET: Respect your elders
Former Cub and 2016 World Series champion David "Grandpa Rossy" Ross catches up with his old teammates and gives Anthony Rizzo some hitting tips during batting practice.
3:53 p.m. ET: Helmet gang
The Cubs' and Nats' batting helmets wait in the wings.
3:47 p.m. ET: Changing of the guard
The Nationals wrap up batting practice ahead of Game 2, with the Cubs about to get started.
3:43 p.m. ET: Red October
The Nats are handing out red rally towels and encouraging fans to "Get Loud. Wear Red."
3:32 p.m. ET: Game 2, here we come
The stands and concourses at Nationals Park are filling up two hours before first pitch.
2:25 p.m. ET: The gate outdoors Three hours before first pitch, a few fans -- mostly in Nats gear, with a few sporting Cubs blue -- start to line up outside the center-field gate at Nationals Park.
1:45 p.m. ET: Harper not hampered by knee In a news conference before Game 2, Bryce Harper says the left knee injury that limited him to five games after Aug. 12 is improving each day. More >
1:35 p.m. ET: Cubs make right call
Manager Joe Maddon went heavy on right-handed hitters for the Cubs' Game 2 lineup against Washington starter Gio Gonzalez. Right-handed hitters had a .681 OPS against Gonzalez this year, compared to .507 for lefties.