Cubs spoil Nats' interim manager's season debut

BY foxsports • July 17, 2009

Minimal offense, two errors that led to three unearned runs, a costly pickoff in the eighth inning with the potential tying run at the plate: The dawn of the Jim Riggleman era looked suspiciously like the kind of spotty play that got Manny Acta fired as manager of the Washington Nationals.

Rich Harden allowed three hits over six innings, Derrek Lee homered and the Chicago Cubs beat Washington 6-2 on Thursday night, spoiling Riggleman's debut as the Nationals' interim manager.

"Our guys played hard. I thought we played very well for seven innings and then it got away from us. ... There's really not a whole lot to feel good about," Riggleman said. "But I feel like we're going to turn this thing around."

Harden (6-6), who had won only one of his previous seven starts, improved to 4-1 on the road. He allowed an unearned run, walked none and struck out seven, including Adam Dunn three times.

"It's nice to have a couple of days off and kind of regroup," Harden said of the All-Star break. "(It) kind of helps put things behind you, put the first half behind you. There are a lot of games left. It's almost like you're starting over."

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