Ian Desmond's two-out RBI single in the top of the ninth inning broke a 1-1 tie and gave the Washington Nationals a 2-1 win over the Chicago Cubs in their 2012 season opener Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Desmond went 3-for-5 on the afternoon, recording three of the Nationals' four hits, as Washington made sure that a strong seven-inning performance from starter Stephen Strasburg didn't go completely to waste.
The Cubs had taken a 1-0 lead in the 4th inning on Marlon Byrd's RBI single and Strasburg was on the hook for the loss until Kerry Wood walked the first three batters he faced in relief of Ryan Dempster. Dempster pitched 7.2 shutout innings and struck out 10 Nationals while giving up only two hits.
Wood entered the game with Desmond first and two out. After Desmond stole second, Wood walked Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, and Jayson Werth to tie the game.
Carlos Marmol entered the game in the ninth inning and got the first two men out before Chad Tracy doubled to deep right. Brerr Carroll pinch-ran and scored on Desmond's hit.
Things got dicey briefly in the bottom of the ninth when Ian Stewart tripled to deep right, but Brad Lidge induced Jeff Baker to ground into a force-out that saw pinch-runner Joe Mather cut down at the plate. Byrd was then caught looking to end the ball game.