Game One Hundred – Cubs 3, Rockies 2
WP – Jon Lester (6-8) LP – Eddie Butler (3-7) Save – Hector Rondon (13)
Jon Lester struck out 14 batters over eight tremendous innings. Dexter Fowler hit a solo homer in the first and Anthony Rizzo launched a two-run shot in the third inning as the Cubs beat the Rockies on Wednesday afternoon.
Jon Lester did exactly what the Cubs needed. Lester kept the high-flying Rockies offense in check for a majority of the afternoon while pitching deep into the game. Lester made only one mistake and Carlos Gonzalez deposited the ball in the center field basket. Lester faced the minimum the first time through the lineup, striking out six in a row at one point and seven of the first nine batters he faced.
Jon Lester seemed to have a little extra on his fastball Wednesday. After the Rockies put runners on second and third with no outs in the fourth, Nolan Arenado hit a sac fly to right and plated Charlie Blackmon with the Rockies first run. With Jose Reyes on third, Lester struck out Carlos Gonzalez and D.J. LeMahieu to end the inning.
Jon Lester turned the game over to Hector Rondon in the ninth inning. Lester allowed two runs on five hits with a walk and 14 strikeouts. Lester made 117 pitches, 77 for strikes, in eight innings … the 14 strikeouts is one short of his career high of 15 he set May 3, 2014 in a 6-3 win over the A’s.
Jon Lester recorded the most strikeouts by a left-hander in a single-game since 1914 (Jamie Moyer, 12) and the 14 strikeouts is the most by a Cubs’ pitcher since Mark Prior struck out 16 Reds on Sept. 30, 2004.
Hector Rondon struck out two of the four batters he faced in the ninth … and Cubs’ pitching ended up with 16 strikeouts and two walks on the afternoon.
The Cubs scored all three of their runs on two home runs. Dexter Fowler (1-for-2 with a home run and two walks) went yard in the first inning and Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a home run) smacked a two-run homer in the third. The ball hit the foul pole in the third, and Rizzo just missed a two-run homer in the eighth.
Addison Russell (2-for-3), Kyle Schwarber (1-for-2 with two walks) and David Ross (1-for-3) collected the Cubs other hits. And Jon Lester, after not recording a sac bunt all season, had three on Wednesday.
Addison Russell and the Cubs defense had a good day behind Lester. Russell is just so smooth at shortstop.
The Cubs won the series (2-1) and finished the season series with the Rockies with a 4-2 mark.
With Wednesday’s win, the Cubs improved to 53-47 on the season.
Jon Lester faced the minimum in the first inning. Jose Reyes singled to left in his first at bat as a Rockie. David Ross threw him out trying to swipe second and Lester struck out Nolan Arenado swinging for the third out. Lester made 15 pitches, nine for strikes, in the first inning.
Dexter Fowler put the Cubs on the board on Eddie Butler’s third pitch of the game. Fowler pulled a 1-1 offering into the bleachers in right and gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Kyle Schwarber followed with a single to right. Kris Bryant popped out to second base. Anthony Rizzo pulled a 1-2 pitch down the first baseline. The ball hit the bag. Paulsen snagged it and stepped on the bag for the out. With Schwarber at second, Chris Coghlan grounded out to second to end the inning.
After one complete, the Cubs led 1-0.
Jon Lester retired the Rockies in order in the third. Lester faced the minimum the first time through on 39 pitches, 28 for strikes. Lester struck out seven of the first nine batters he faced.
Dexter Fowler got the offense started again in the third with a leadoff walk. Schwarber popped out to Arenado in the shift near the shortstop position for the first out. Bryant struck out swinging (2-2 pitch).
Anthony Rizzo cranked a 0-1 pitch to deep right. The wind caught the ball and the only question was, would it stay fair? The ball hit the foul pole and Rizzo’s two-run shot gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead. Coghlan grounded out to first for the third out.
At the end of three inning, the Cubs had a 3-0 lead.
The Rockies started chipping away in the fourth. Charlie Blackmon led off with a single to right (3-2 pitch). Blackmon stole second on the first pitch to Reyes. Lester walked Jose Reyes and Arenado stepped in with runners on first and second with no outs.
On a 1-1 pitch to Nolan Arenado, the Rockies pulled off a double steal. Blackmon took third on a close play. Bryant was late getting to the bag. Reyes advanced to second on the backend of the double steal. Arenado drove a 2-2 pitch to right. Coghlan caught the ball and made a strong throw to the plate. It was late, Ross could not make a sweeping tag and Blackmon scored … 3-1 Cubs. Reyes advanced to third on the play. Lester struck out Carlos Gonzalez swinging and caught D.J. LeMahieu looking to end the inning.
Jon Lester made 65 pitches, 42 for strikes, in four innings.
The Cubs could not cash in a leadoff single by Addison Russell and a sac bunt by Jon Lester in the fourth. And the Cubs lead was 3-1 after four innings.
Nolan Arenado led off the seventh and popped out to second base. Carlos Gonzalez lined a 1-1 pitch into the basket just to the left of center and cut the Cubs lead to 3-2. LeMahieu grounded out to second base and Lester caught Drew Stubbs looking at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning. Lester made 97 pitches, 66 for strikes, in seven innings.
The Cubs were not able to plate an insurance run in the seventh. David Ross singled to center and Lester bunted him to second base. Herrera and Fowler grounded out to short to end the inning.
The Cubs had a 3-2 lead after seven innings.
And that was the final score. Lester struck out two of the four batters he faced in the eighth. Hector Rondon was back on the hill in the ninth inning. Jose Reyes was caught looking for the first out. Arenado struck out swinging but Rondon walked Carlos Gonzalez. D.J. LeMahieu grounded out to Russell to end the game.
The Cubs begin a four-game series Thursday night in Milwaukee. Jake Arrieta takes on the Brewers in game one and will oppose Jimmy Nelson.