Nate Schierholtz homered twice and drove in a career-high six runs, powering Jeff Samardzija and the Chicago Cubs to an 11-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Monday night.
Schierholtz connected for a three-run shot in the first and a two-run drive in the seventh in his fourth career multihomer game. He also had an RBI double in the third in Chicago’s highest-scoring game since a 14-6 victory over Houston on June 23.
Donnie Murphy added a pair of solo homers and Dioner Navarro had a three-run shot for the Cubs, who managed just 12 runs total in their previous eight home games. Junior Lake doubled twice and scored two runs.
It was more than enough for Samardzija (7-11), who pitched a six-hitter for his second complete game of the season and No. 3 for his career. He struck out five and walked none in his first victory in a month.
Wilson Ramos hit his eighth homer in the seventh, but that was it for Washington. Bryce Harper finished with two hits.
Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (14-7) allowed a season-high eight runs in five innings in his first loss since July 26 against the New York Mets. The All-Star was 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his previous three starts.
The three home runs matched a season high for Zimmermann, who is tied with St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright for the NL lead with 14 wins.
The Nationals acquired outfielder David DeJesus in a pregame trade with the Cubs, but their fringe playoff hopes took a hit with their third loss in four games. They trail NL East-leading Atlanta by 16 games, but the most important number at this point is their 10˝-game deficit compared to Cincinnati in the race for the second NL wild-card slot.
The acquisition of DeJesus gives Washington another veteran right-handed bat for their bench. The 33-year-old DeJesus hit .250 with six homers and 27 RBIs in 84 games with the Cubs, who began the day in last in the NL Central.
DeJesus hit for Ryan Zimmerman in the eighth and received a warm ovation from the crowd of 31,290 on a beautiful night in Chicago. He popped out to shortstop and remained in the game to play center field.
“I’m going to give it my all,” said DeJesus, who merely had to move over to the visitors’ clubhouse at Wrigley Field to join to his new team. “Try and be a guy out there as a leader and a guy that young guys can learn from.”
The Cubs get a player to be named in the trade, but they also save about $2.5 million, including a $1.5 million buyout for a 2014 team option worth $6.5 million. General manager Jed Hoyer said the money was a “strong consideration.”
“We really like David a lot,” Hoyer said. “I’ve told his agent and Theo told David directly, we’d be willing to talk to him about bringing him back at some point. He’s a good mentor for our younger guys.”
The big night for Schierholtz left him with 18 homers and 58 RBIs, both career highs. Not bad for a journeyman outfielder who was non-tendered by Philadelphia after last season and agreed to a one-year deal with Chicago in late December.
NOTES: Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo (illness) got the day off. Manager Dale Sveum said he hopes he will be ready for Tuesday night’s game. ... The Cubs activated OF Brian Bogusevic (strained left hamstring) from the 15-day disabled list to take DeJesus’ roster spot, and general manager Jed Hoyer said OF Ryan Sweeney (broken left rib) likely will begin a rehab stint next week. ... The Nationals released OF Roger Bernardina to make room on their roster. Bernardina hit .178 in 85 games with Washington. ... Nationals RHP Dan Haren (7-11, 4.79 ERA) faces Cubs LHP Chris Rusin (2-2, 3.06 ERA) in the second game of the series.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.