WASHINGTON (AP) — Kris Bryant matched a career high with three home runs and drove in five while the Chicago Cubs piled on against the Washington Nationals bullpen in a 14-6 win Friday night.
Albert Almora Jr., Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras also homered to help the NL Central-leading Cubs (26-16) snap a two-game skid. Javier Baez extended the majors’ longest hitting streak to 15 games.
Bryant went deep in the seventh, eighth and ninth, making him the 12th player to homer in three straight innings. He finished with four hits and extended his on-base streak to 26 games, a career best and the longest active run in the majors.
Contreras also had four hits. His ninth-inning homer off Matt Grace capped an 11-run barrage for the Cubs against the Nationals’ beleaguered bullpen.
Schwarber broke open a one-run game in the eighth with a two-run homer against Kyle Barraclough that concluded a 13-pitch at-bat. Bryant followed two pitches later with his 10th homer.
Chicago starter Cole Hamels (4-0) won for the fourth time in five starts. The left-hander tossed five effective innings, squirming out of two bases-loaded jams, as the Cubs improved to 7-2 in his nine starts this season.
The only damage Hamels allowed was a two-run home run to Anthony Rendon in the third inning.
Washington (18-26) has yet to win three in a row this season and has dropped all six of Scherzer’s home starts.
Scherzer (2-5) struggled with his command over six innings. He walked a season-high four and gave up a two-run homer to Almora, his fourth of the season, in the second. Scherzer also struck out eight before exiting.
Trea Turner went 2 for 5 in his return from a broken right index finger that kept the Nationals shortstop out of the lineup for 38 games.
Almora made a diving catch in center field to rob Juan Soto of a hit in the ninth inning.
Cubs: Cubs: 1B Anthony Rizzo (back) returned to the lineup after missing four games and went 1 for 5 with a strikeout and run scored.
Nationals: RHP Anibal Sanchez was placed on the 10-day injured list (strained left hamstring).
Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (3-1, 1.16) has not allowed an earned run in his last starts. He’s 2-2 with a 4.25 ERA in seven career starts against the Nationals.
Nationals: RHP Steven Strasburg (3-3, 3.63) has lost his last two starts. He is 1-1 with a 2.23 ERA in six career starts against the Cubs.