What to Watch For: 9/5

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Chicago Cubs (51-84) vs. Washington Nationals (83-52)

RHP Chris Volstad (2-9, 6.06) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (17-7, 3.10)

The Nationals matched a franchise record with six home runs, coming off the bats of five different hitters, as they cruised to an 11-5 victory over the Cubs Tuesday night for their fifth win in the first six games of their current 11-game homestand. Gio Gonzalez takes the hill on the heels of his first career shutout as he looks for his career-high 18th win.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Bernadina CF

2. Harper RF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Gonzalez LHP

ABOUT THOSE HOMERS LAST NIGHT…

Ian Desmond hit a two-run, first-inning home run and Adam LaRoche went deep twice to spark a six-homer barrage. The Nationals became the first team representing the Nation’s Capital in 79 years of modern (1901-present) baseball (6,124 games) to hit more than four homers in a home game. The six homers also matched a Nationals (‘05-present) single-game mark (May 20, 2011 at Baltimore). Washington matched a season high with 11 extra-base hits, as all nine Nationals starters tallied at least one hit.

LAROCHE KEEPING ELIAS BUSY

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, with his 4-for-4, two-home run effort last night, LaRoche is the third Nationals player to go 4-for-4 or better with two homers in a game. The other to do it were Nick Johnson on April 20, 2006 (4-4, 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB, 2 R) and Josh Willingham on August 25, 2009 (4-4, 2 HR, 6 RBI, BB, 5 R). LaRoche ranks among National League first basemen in HR (first, 27), RBI (first, 87), SLG (third, .498) and OPS (third, .834).

START ME UP

Gonzalez is coming off the first shutout of his career in Friday’s 10-0 win vs. St. Louis. He struck out eight along the way en route to his second complete game in five starts. With 17, has already established a Nationals single-season record for wins, besting Livan Hernandez’s 15-win campaign in 2005. The last DC-based pitcher to win 18+: Bob Porterfield (22 in 1953).

DATE IN DC BASEBALL

September 5, 2011: Desmond (first-inning leadoff homer), Michael Morse (third career multi-homer game) and Jayson Werth (18th of the season) combined on three first-inning home runs, four total in the game, as Washington powered past the Dodgers, 7-2, at Nationals Park.

- FOLLOW NATIONALS VS. CUBS LIVE -

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