National epidemic: Washington Nationals lose to Cubs, stay winless in postseason series history

Willson Contreras tags out Trea Turner. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – The Chicago Cubs were once the ‘lovable losers’. They’re now the defending world champions. And the Washington Nationals are going home…again.

Chicago defeated the Nats 9-8 Thursday in a winner-take-all game five of the National League Division Series to advance to its third straight National League Championship. Washington, despite having home field advantage in the best of five series, remains without a postseason series victory. The Nationals have lost all four division series in which they’ve played, having home field advantage in each one.

Ryan Zimmerman reacts after striking out during National League Division Series. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Thursday, the Nats jumped out to an early 4-1 lead after a pair of second inning home runs – the second of which came off the bat of Michael A. Taylor.

However, the Cubs score seven unanswered runs to take an 8-4 lead. Washington’s Max Scherzer, making his first relief appearance since 2013, surrenders four runs on three hits in the fifth inning – a frame in which Chicago plated four runs and took a 7-4 lead.

The Nats battled back, clawing to within one run at 9-8 in the eighth inning, but they couldn’t scratch across the game-tying run. Cubs closer Wade Davis struck out Bryce Harper to end the game.

With 14 hits in tonight’s game, the Nationals set a new franchise record for the most hits in a Postseason game…The previous record was 11 in Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS.