Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Alfonso Soriano hit a three-run homer and Tyler Colvin added a two-run blast to aid Carlos Zambrano's longest start of the year, as Chicago held on for a 5-4 win despite Washington's three-run ninth inning.
Zambrano (5-6) allowed only one run on five hits and one walk while fanning eight in 7 1/3 innings for the Cubs, who took the opener of this three-game set on Monday in Mike Quade's debut as interim manager.
Washington's John Lannan (5-6) lasted just five innings, yielding five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits to snap a personal three-start win streak.
The Nationals, losers of three straight and six of eight overall, left the bases loaded in the eighth when Carlos Marmol struck out pinch-hitter Ian Desmond on three pitches.
The hosts, trailing 5-1, filled the bags again in the ninth and pulled within one on Adam Kennedy's two-out, bases-clearing hit into the right-field corner.
Marmol, though, was able to get Ryan Zimmerman to fly out just in front of the warning track in right to notch his 23rd save of the year.
Jeff Baker and Geovany Soto each singled in the second inning in front of Soriano, who sent a slider over the left-field wall for his 20th home run of the season.
Alberto Gonzalez scored on Zimmerman's base hit up the middle in the home third, but his error allowed Soriano to reach in Chicago's next at-bat. Colvin followed by taking Lannan deep to right for a 5-1 edge.
Zambrano retired 11 straight prior to Mike Morse's bleeder up the middle with one out in the seventh, then erased the runner with a 4-6-3 double-play ball off the bat of Gonzalez.
Soriano has hit at least 20 home runs in nine consecutive seasons...Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd sat out after being hit by a pitch on his right hand on Monday...Zambrano has given up two runs or less in each of his four starts since rejoining his team's rotation...Chicago has won six straight in Washington...Before the game, the Nationals officially placed rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to August 22, with a strained flexor tendon in his right forearm. They recalled Collin Balester from Triple-A Syracuse, and the reliever hurled a perfect eighth on Tuesday.