WASHINGTON -- After scoring one run and getting only four hits in the first 16 innings of the National League Division Series, the Washington offense picked the right time to awaken from its slumber.
Bryce Harper tied the game with a two-run homer off Carl Edwards Jr. in the bottom of the eighth and later in the inning, Ryan Zimmerman belted a three-run shot against Mike Montgomery that gave the Nationals a 6-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs in Game 2 Saturday and evened the series at 1-1.
The teams resume play Monday at Wrigley Field. The Nationals hope that the five-run eighth inning, which turned around a 3-1 Chicago lead, can create some momentum the team can carry with them into Game 3.
"Our pitchers have done their part," Zimmerman said. "We let them down the first game, obviously, and then for seven or so innings of this game, we didn't help them much either. Going into Chicago 0-2 would have been a pretty tough hole to dig ourselves out of. So 1-1 is obviously a lot more manageable."
Zimmerman hit his three-run shot barely over the fence in left. It carried just enough to snap the 3-3 tie. Harper's two-run homer three batters before had tied the game.
Cubs starter Jon Lester allowed only an Anthony Rendon solo homer and left after six innings with a 3-1 lead. Lester had that edge thanks to a Willson Contreras solo homer in the second, and Anthony Rizzo's two-run shot in the fourth.
In the eighth, Harper crushed his game-tying shot into the upper deck in right field that was gone from the moment it left his bat.
"Bryce is good," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "(Edwards) is good. Bryce got him."
Harper also said the Nationals were doing fine in the dugout before the five-run outburst. They still believed in themselves.
"I think we all have faith in our ability to play baseball," Harper said. "We're one of the best teams in the league all-around. We've got a lot of faith ... in our clubhouse."
Adam Lind started the game-winning rally with a single and scored on the Harper blast.
Lind was playing in his first postseason game. That came after playing in 1,344 regular-season contests, the most among active players, and his pinch-hit single starting the eighth got the winning rally going.
Washington manager Dusty Baker said he felt that at some point his team would break out of its slump. He was hoping that moment would be in Game 2.
"I was kind of bewildered because it's not too many teams or pitchers that have held us in check like that for a couple days," Baker said. "I just knew in the bottom of my heart that we were going to explode for some numbers, which we've done all year."