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WSH@CHC: Beeler allows no earned runs in MLB debut

CHICAGO -- When Dallas Beeler rejoins Triple-A Iowa, he'll have the ball from his first Major League hit, another from his first big league start, and a lasting memory.

Beeler didn't get the win in his debut, but he made a good impression in the Nationals' 3-0 victory over the Cubs on Saturday in the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Wrigley Field.

"I'd say if there was one [memory], just running out there for the first time, picking up the ball, it's the first inning, everyone's loud, everyone's cheering -- that's probably the first and best memory of it all," said Beeler, called up from the Minors.

The right-hander scattered four hits over six innings, and the Nationals scored an unearned run on his wild pitch in the sixth.

"He just pitched against one of the leading clubs in the [National League] East with quite a few good ballplayers on the other side and I think he managed himself well through this outing," Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. "He looked very composed. He didn't look like he was flustered at all. Just a sense of calm out there. He looked like he belonged."

A 41st-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Beeler, 25, needed just seven pitches to retire the Nationals in order in the first. Nate McLouth singled to lead off the third for the first hit off the right-hander, but was retired when Jose Lobaton grounded into a double play.

Beeler helped himself when he singled with two outs in the third for the first Major League hit and the first hit of the game off Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez.

"I was walking up there trying to decide if I was going to swing first pitch or not, regardless of where it was going to be or not," Beeler said. "It found a hole."

The Cubs' pitcher was tested. Denard Span reached on a bunt single with one out in the sixth, but Beeler picked him off with a quick throw to first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

Anthony Rendon then doubled to left after Span was out and moved up on a passed ball charged to catcher John Baker during Ryan Zimmerman's at-bat. Zimmerman walked, and Rendon then scored on a wild pitch by Beeler during Adam LaRoche's at-bat.

"It was a changeup, a split change, and it got stuck in my fingers a little bit and I spiked it," Beeler said. "It might have been a big situation and I was pumped up but, hey, it happens. It was one of those pitches."

It was about the only thing Beeler did wrong.

"I told him before the game to think about it like he was going into Pearl, Miss., and pitching a Double-A game," Baker said. "A lot of times we talk about the stuff that guys have -- he has a cutter, a slider, a changeup, a breaking ball -- but some guys get third-deck shock and all of a sudden forget who they are. I wanted him to remember who he was and that he threw the game he wanted to throw."

And the pitcher did just that.

"Surprisingly, I was a lot calmer than what I thought I'd be," Beeler said. "I walked out there, took a deep breath, threw my warmup pitches and looked around again and exhaled, and said, 'All right, it's the same game I've been playing the last 20 years,' and I took a deep breath and I relaxed."

"He was awesome the first couple innings," Rendon said of Beeler. "He was awesome throughout the whole game. He was commanding his pitches, he had the sinker, cutter and a pretty good curveball out there."

The Nationals tallied in the eighth on Rendon's RBI triple and a sacrifice fly by LaRoche. Gonzalez stifled the Cubs, giving up two hits, including Beeler's single, over seven shutout innings.

"Gio had us baffled a little bit," Renteria said.

Beeler did the same.

"He's very reminiscent to me of Roy Halladay -- same kind of approach to pitching," Baker said. "He's trying to throw strikes down in the strike zone early in the count and nothing's straight. When nothing's straight, and you throw the ball low, you're going to get ground balls and fast innings like he did today."

Beeler will rejoin Chris Rusin, Kyle Hendricks and Eric Jokisch in Iowa's rotation. On Saturday, he provided a glimpse of what could be.

"It's a nice flash of what the future is going to be here," Baker said.

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