Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals NLDS Game 2 live updates and results

 In Sports

After taking their first lead of the series, the Nationals are in a 3-1 hole in Game 2. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

In the first inning of Game 2 of the NLDS against the Chicago Cubs, Anthony Rendon addressed the Washington Nationals’ biggest issue from Friday’s loss: offense. Rendon cranked a home run off Jon Lester with two outs to put the Nats on the board for the first time in the series and take a 1-0 lead. The good feeling didn’t last long.

Chicago catcher Willson Contreras almost immediately answered with a solo shot of his own to even things up. Then, in the fourth inning, Kris Bryant doubled before Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run shot to push the Cubs ahead 3-1. Keep in mind: Bryant and Rizzo were the keys behind the Chicago offense Friday, as well.

The Nationals finally loaded the bases in the fifth with two outs, but Lester ended up striking out Trea Turner to deflate Washington’s hopes.

Entering the eighth, Washington still trailed 3-1 and couldn’t get anything going offensively.

Taking Game 2 would be the only way to prevent the Nationals from flying to Chicago needing to tough out two wins in Wrigley Field against the defending champs. Though, as Washington Manager Dusty Baker put it, “there’s a fine line between urgency and panic.”

We’ll have live updates right here throughout the night, so keep checking back and join the discussion in the comments.

Here are the best and worst moments so far.

Best playoff pitcher: Jon Lester won a pair of World Series with the Red Sox before winning four of his five postseason starts last year to help the Cubs end their 108-year championship drought. He entered Saturday’s game with a 2.63 ERA in 133 ⅔ innings pitched in the playoffs, and his 20th career postseason start was among his best yet. Lester allowed a playoff career-low two hits over six innings while striking out two and walking two.

Best bullpen: Matt Albers, Sammy Solis, Ryan Madson and Oliver Perez combined to limit the Cubs to a walk and two hits in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. That kept the Nationals within two runs, which would normally be considered striking distance.

Worst missed opportunity: After his shaky fifth inning, which featured a leadoff single and two walks, Jon Lester needed only 13 pitches to retire Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Daniel Murphy in order. It marked the eighth time in 17 innings in the series and fourth time in Game 2 that Washington failed to put a runner aboard.

Best idea: Nationals Park is about a 10-minute drive from Capital One Arena, where the Capitals are hosting the Canadiens in their home opener. Get Alex Ovechkin, who scored his sixth goal of the season in only Washington’s second game on Saturday (yes, back-to-back hat tricks!), a Victor Robles jersey and let him pinch hit in a key spot. (Related and predictable worst response: “It’s the playoffs, so he’ll blow it.”)

Best excuse for the worst energy: The crowd at Nationals Park wasn’t exactly boisterous as Game 2 entered the fifth inning with the Cubs leading 3-1, but the fans wearing red were still louder than Washington’s bats. Nationals fans rose to their feet when Howie Kendrick, pinch-hitting for Gio Gonzalez, came to the plate with runners on the corners and two outs in the bottom of the inning. They grew louder after Jon Lester walked Kendrick on four pitches to load the bases for leadoff man Trea Turner.

Worst clutch: Turner, still seeking his first postseason hit, struck out on a 2-2 pitch in the fifth to end the Nationals’ best threat of the game and quiet the crowd once again.

Worst sight: One person not lacking for energy? Jon Lester, who was just a little bit pleased with his strikeout of Trea Turner to end the fifth.

Worst bats: The Nationals went 0 for their next 10 after Anthony Rendon’s first-inning home run, and Jon Lester was through four innings on only 44 pitches. At that point, the Nationals’ No. 2  through No. 5 hitters — Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman — were a combined 2 for 21 in the series and Washington was an abysmal 3 for 42 as a team.

Best catch: Sean Thompson, the Cubs fan who caught Rizzo’s home run, was booed lustily by the Nationals Park crowd when he was shown on the video board, and TBS’s cameras showed him talking on his phone during the umpires’ replay review. Once you accept that the ball was going to be a home run regardless, you can appreciate the guy’s one-handed catch. Maybe.

Worst nemesis: Anthony Rizzo, who had a pair of two-out RBI in Game 1, gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead with a two-run home run to right field after Kris Bryant led off the the fourth inning with a double. A man in a Bryant jersey caught the home run, which umpires reviewed to make sure there wasn’t any fan interference. “It was not a Jeffrey Maier moment,” TBS’s Ernie Johnson said. He was right.

Worst pain: Nationals catcher Matt Wieters was 0 for 2 with a walk on Friday, grounded out in his first at-bat to end the second inning on Saturday and then took a bat to the back of his head on a backswing by Ian Happ to start the third. Wieters would remain in the game, and he’d probably take five more backswings to his noggin over a foul ball to the groin like the one Gary Sanchez endured last week.

Best groove: Gio Gonzalez cruised in the third, striking out Ian Happ and Jon Lester on seven pitches before getting Albert Almora to fly out to right field to end the inning. Gonzalez headed to the fourth with five strikeouts on 42 pitches, not that far off Stephen Strasburg’s 10-strikeouts on 81-pitches pace in Game 1.

Worst elements: The wind, which was blowing out to left field and featured gusts of up to 20 mph, turned a couple of routine fly balls in the first inning into adventurous outs and helped carry … and carry … and carry … Willson Contreras’s towering shot in the second inning over the fence to tie the game. Contreras’s solo home run was somewhat reminiscent of one Bryce Harper hit at Wrigley Field, which is notorious for its whipping winds, in 2015.

Best atonement: With two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the first inning, Anthony Rendon hit a rare opposite field home run that cleared the 335-foot sign in right field and gave the Nationals an early 1-0 lead. It was Rendon who committed the error that led to two unearned runs in the sixth inning of Game 1.

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