Wil Nieves hit his first major league homer, a two-run shot in the ninth inning, to give the Washington Nationals a 5-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Friday night. Nieves drove an 0-2 pitch from Chicago's Bob Howry (0-2) into the Washington bullpen in right field for the Nationals' second straight victory after dropping 16 of 19 games.
Jon Rauch (2-0), Washington's fifth pitcher of the evening, worked a perfect ninth. Nick Johnson hit a two-run homer off Ryan Dempster into the second deck in right field in the first inning. It was the first home run to reach the second deck of Nationals Park since it opened this season. Chicago, the NL Central leaders, had won six of seven.