Bryant turns ankle, Cubs lose 8-4

 
 
Updated 6/28/2017 9:54 PM
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  • Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (17) is helped off the field by trainers after he was injured during the fifth inning of the team's baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, June 28, 2017, in Washington.

    Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (17) is helped off the field by trainers after he was injured during the fifth inning of the team's baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, June 28, 2017, in Washington. Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- There was a little matter of a baseball game to be played Wednesday night, and things continued to go wrong for the Chicago Cubs.

Starting pitcher John Lackey got shelled, giving up 3 home runs as the Washington Nationals defeated the Cubs 8-4 at Nationals Park. The Nats have won two straight games after the Cubs took the series opener. With the loss, the Cubs fell back to .500 at 39-39.

There's more.

Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant turned his ankle on the third-base bag while fielding a pop fly in the fifth inning. He had to leave the game.

Bryant was able to walk off the field, but not without some assistance. The Cubs say he has a mild-to-moderate sprain but that X-rays were negative. It's unknown whether he will have to go on the disabled list. Jeimer Candelario replaced Bryant at third base.

Manager Joe Maddon said he's not thinking, "What's next?"

"I honestly don't, I don't, I don't, I don't," he said. "It's unfortunate. Hopefully it's just going to be a couple days. The way I look at it is get him off his feet, literally, for a couple days. I still believe it's going to benefit us in August and September."

The Nationals jumped on Lackey early. Ryan Zimmerman drove in a run with a single in the first inning. The Nats sent nine men to the plate in the second and scored four times. Anthony Rendon and Matt Wieters hit back-to-back solo homers.

Lackey (5-9, 5.24 ERA) worked 5⅓ innings, giving up 9 hits and 8 runs.

"I didn't locate well against a really good offense," he said. "Got to do a better job. You've got to be pretty precise and pitch really well against these guys. I wasn't able to do that."

Cubs batters did little with Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg until Willson Contreras hit a 2-run homer in the fourth. Strasburg worked 7 innings, striking out 13.

The Cubs were playing just hours after the team designated veteran catcher Miguel Montero for assignment. Montero made comments critical of Tuesday's pitcher Jake Arrieta, as well as the other pitchers, after Tuesday night's 6-1 loss.

Cubs call up Caratini:

To fill the spot of Miguel Montero on the roster, the Cubs recalled catcher Victor Caratini from Class AAA Iowa.

Caratini, 23, batted .343 with 20 doubles, 2 triples, homers and 54 RBI in 68 games for Iowa. He had a .384 on-base percentage and a .539 slugging percentage. The switch hitter made his major-league debut by grounding out as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning.

Zobrist to Tennessee:

Infielder-outfielder Ben Zobrist will begin a minor-league rehab stint Thursday at Class AA Tennessee. Zobrist has been on the DL since June 13 with left-wrist inflammation.

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