Game Thirty-One – Cubs 4, Mets 3
WP – Jon Lester (3-2) LP – Jacob deGrom (3-4) Save – Hector Rondon (7)
Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo hit back-to-back jacks in the first inning. Addison Russell added a two-out RBI single in the fourth and Jon Lester notched his fourth straight quality start as the Cubs beat the Mets on Monday night at the old ballyard.
Kris Bryant (1-for-2 with a home run, two RBI and two walks) and Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a home run) gave Jon Lester an early lead. Bryant christened the new left field bleachers with a two-run homer in the first inning. Dexter Fowler (1-for-2 with a walk, a HBP and a run scored) was along for the ride on Bryant’s first homer at Wrigley after Jacob deGrom hit him with a 2-2 pitch to start the inning. Bryant’s longball is the first homer hit in the new left field bleachers.
Anthony Rizzo followed Bryant and on the next pitch from deGrom lined his seventh homer of the season into the bleacher construction in right field. Bryant and Rizzo gave Lester a 3-0 lead after one inning.
Addison Russell (1-for-4 with a RBI) drove in Chris Coghlan (2-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base) with the fourth run of the night. And Russell’s two-out RBI ended up being the difference in the game. The Cubs managed only six hits and six walks on the night with eight strikeouts.
Jorge Soler (0-for-2 with two walks) worked two free passes and appeared a lot more confident at the plate.
Jon Lester did not give up his first hit until the fourth inning and was very sharp in the first two innings. Lester pitched around the Cubs defense that gave the Mets too many outs on Monday night. Lester surrendered a single run in the fourth after the Cubs failed to turn an inning ending double play.
Lester served up back-to-back homers to Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores in the sixth before turning the game over to the pen. Lester had given up two home runs all season before Monday.
Jon Lester allowed three runs on five hits with four walks and six strikeouts. Lester threw 110 pitches, 65 for strikes, in six innings.
The Cubs pen kept the Mets off the board over the final three innings. The Cubs defense stepped up behind Justin Grimm, Zac Rosscup and Hector Rondon. The Mets squared up Rosscup and Rondon but the defense turned two double plays, including a 4-6-3 twin killing to end the game, and Starlin Castro made a game changing, diving catch on a ball ticketed for center field for the first out in the ninth inning.
With Monday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 16-15 on the season.
Jon Lester took the hill for the fourth inning with the Cubs leading 3-0. Lester threw 47 pitches, 29 for strikes, in the first three innings and had not allowed a hit. Daniel Murphy grounded out to Rizzo for the first out. Lester walked Michael Cuddyer, the third free pass issued by Lester on the night. Lucas Duda singled to right (2-2 pitch) for the Mets’ first hit of the game. Wilmer Flores dribbled a 1-0 pitch back through the middle. Lester let the ball go and Russell fielded it behind the bag. The lack of communication between Russell and Castro cost the Cubs. Instead of flipping to Castro, Russell ran to the bag and could only get one out as the two collided.
Kevin Plawecki stepped in with runners on the corners and two down. Plawecki singled to center (1-1 pitch), Cuddyer scored and cut the Cubs lead to 3-1. Instead of being out of the inning, Lester faced two more batters and gave up a run. Dilson Herrera flied out to left center to end the inning. Lester needed 69 pitches, 40 for strikes, to complete four innings.
Chris Coghlan led off the fourth with a single to left center (0-1). David Ross bunted to the third base side of the mound. deGrom’s throw was high and took Duda into foul ground, Ross was called safe. Terry Collins challenged the call. The call was overturned. Replay got it right, Ross was out. Coghlan advanced to second on the play. Lester struck out swinging for the second out.
Addison Russell singled to right, Coghlan scored and the Cubs took a 4-1 lead.
Dexter Fowler followed Russell with a single to left and Kris Bryant walked. With the bases loaded, Anthony Rizzo grounded back to Jacob deGrom to end the inning.
The Cubs led 4-1 after four innings.
Jon Lester started the sixth with the Cubs leading 4-1. Lester threw 88 pitches, 52 for strikes, in five innings and retired Michael Cuddyer on a grounder to short.
Lucas Duda cracked a homer to center and made it a 4-2 game, but the Mets were not done. Wilmer Flores followed Duda with a home run to left. And just like that the Cubs lead was down to 4-3. Lester retired Plawecki on a flyout to deep center. Lester did not get the calls on Dilson Herrera and walked him. A wild pitch with pinch hitter Ruben Tejada at the plate put the tying run in scoring position. Lester caught Tejada looking at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the sixth … and after six complete, the Cubs led 4-3.
Justin Grimm pitched a scoreless seventh inning after taking 12 pitches to strikeout Juan Lagares. The Cubs were not able to cash in walks by Bryant and Soler in the seventh and add to the lead.
Justin Grimm started the eighth and Michael Cuddyer singled to right center (3-2 pitch). Joe Maddon went to his pen for lefty Zac Rosscup.
Lucas Duda smoked a 2-2 pitch down the first baseline. Rizzo stuck out his glove, caught it and stepped on first for the double play. Off the bat, it looked like Duda would have a double. Flores flied out to left center to end the inning.
Chris Coghlan singled to right to start the eighth and stole second with Ross at the plate. But Ross struck out swinging and both Matt Szczur and Addison Russell grounded out to short to end the inning. The game went to the ninth with the Cubs clinging to a 4-3 lead.
Hector Rondon walked pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson to start the ninth. Starlin Castro made a game-changing play. Castro dove toward the middle and snagged a liner off the bat of Herrera for the first out. Johnny Monell hit for Erik Goeddel and drove a 1-1 pitch toward second. Russell knocked down the hard hit ball, picked it up, flipped to Castro and started the 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
Jake Arrieta takes on Noah Syndergaard in game two with the Mets on Tuesday night (7:05pm CDT).