Nico Hoerner, late rally power Cubs to 4-2 victory over Nationals

Hoerner was the first to do damage against Nats starter Josiah Gray, who shut out the Cubs through six innings. Hoerner led off the seventh with a solo home run, making it a 2-1 game.

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Chicago Cubs’ Nico Hoerner rounds the bases after his homer off Washington Nationals starting pitcher Josiah Gray during the seventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday.

Chicago Cubs’ Nico Hoerner rounds the bases after his homer off Washington Nationals starting pitcher Josiah Gray during the seventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

A seventh-inning rally powered the Cubs to a 4-2 victory against the Nationals on Wednesday, giving them the series victory.

“Really nice up and down contributions in the last couple games,” said Cubs shortstop Nico Hoerner, who went 2-for-4 on Wednesday. “Fun rallies, home games, series win, all positive stuff.”

Hoerner was the first to do damage against Nationals starter Josiah Gray, who shut out the Cubs through six innings. Hoerner led off the seventh with a solo home run, making it a 2-1 game.

Nick Madrigal drove in the tying run with a ground-ball single up the middle to score Patrick Wisdom, pinch-running for Yan Gomes, from second base.

A sacrifice fly from Rafael Ortega and an RBI single from Ian Happ gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead.

The Nationals used three pitchers in the seventh inning alone. Former Cubs Steve Cishek and Carl Edwards Jr. followed Gray.

It was the second straight game in which the Cubs staged a comeback against the Nationals in the seventh. On Tuesday, the Nationals struck back with a two-run homer in the next inning to win by a run. On Wednesday, Cubs relievers Michael Rucker, Brandon Hughes and Rowan Wick combined for three scoreless innings.

Happy anniversary

A year ago, Justin Steele made his first major-league start, allowing three runs in five innings against the Brewers.

“Not even the same pitcher,” Steele said after holding the Nationals to two runs in six innings. “Completely different. Completely different mindset. I just look at it completely different now, the way I attack lineups, the way I’m using my pitches. It’s been a year full of improvement, building off each start, trying to learn something in every start I make.”

On Wednesday, the first run scored when a line drive got past Ortega in center field. The second was a solo homer, courtesy of Nationals rookie Joey Meneses.

Called up last week, Meneses has played in only seven major-league games. He -homered in all three games against the Cubs, including the game-winning shot Tuesday.

Steele surpassed the 100-strikeout mark for the season, fanning nine. He has a 1.95 ERA in his last seven starts.

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