Game One Hundred Eight – Cubs 7, Giants 3
WP – Jon Lester (7-8) LP – Ryan Vogelsong (7-8) Save – Hector Rondon (18)
Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler delivered the big hits for the Cubs for the second day in a row. The Cubs broke a 1-1 tie with five runs in the fifth inning. Kyle Schwarber singled in the first two runs. Jorge Soler came through with a two-out, two run double and gave Jon Lester the breathing room he needed with the wind blowing out as the Cubs topped the Giants on Friday afternoon.
The Cubs improved to a season-high 12 games over .500 with another total team effort.
Kyle Schwarber (2-for-5 with a double, two RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base) doubled with one out in the first and scored on a Chris Coghlan (2-for-3 with a RBI) single. Addison Russell (1-for-4 with a run scored) started the five-run fifth with a single to left center. Dexter Fowler (3-for-5 with a double, a home run, a stolen base and two runs scored) doubled to right and Kyle Schwarber broke a 1-1 tie with a single to center off veteran lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt.
Jorge Soler (2-for-3 with a double, a walk and two RBI) doubled to left with two outs and scored Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with a double, a walk, a stolen base and a run scored). David Ross capped the five-inning with a two-out single to center that plated Soler.
Dexter Fowler collected his third hit of the game, a solo homer in the eighth inning for the Cubs’ seventh run.
The Cubs managed seven runs on 12 hits and two walks. Four of the seven runs scored with two outs and the Cubs finished the afternoon 4-for-10 with RISP while leaving seven runners on base.
Jon Lester did his job Friday and limited the Giants to a pair of runs on hitter friendly day at Wrigley Field. Lester was not as sharp as he had been in previous outings but he was good enough for seven innings. Both runs Lester allowed came after misplayed balls in the outfield that should have been caught. The Giants made a lot of loud, solid contact against Lester but other than the two miscues, the Cubs defense made the plays.
Jon Lester wiggled out of a big jam in the seventh inning and turned the game over to the pen in the eighth. Lester allowed two runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Lester made 100 pitches, 60 for strikes.
Tommy Hunter served up a solo shot to Nori Aoki leading off the eighth inning, the second longball hit off Hunter in as many days. Chris Bosio must get him straightened out. The Cubs are depending on Hunter to get outs late in the game.
Hector Rondon picked up a five-out save in what was arguably his best appearance in the big leagues. Rondon cleaned up Hunter’s mess in the eighth inning and worked around a leadoff walk to Hunter Pence in the ninth. Rondon recorded five outs on 25 pitches, 14 for strikes.
Addison Russell had an excellent day at shortstop and once again showed just how smooth he is at his natural position. Russell turned two possible throwing errors by David Ross and Jon Lester into outs and footage for highlight reels.
With Friday’s win, the Cubs improved to 60-48 on the season and moved 1 ½ games ahead of the Giants for the second NL Wild Card.
Jon Lester made quick work of the Giants in the first inning, 1-2-3 on 11 pitches, seven for strikes.
Dexter Fowler put together a long at bat and worked a full count before he was called out on strikes for the first out. Kyle Schwarber drove a 0-1 pitch to the gap in left center. The ball hit off the base of the ivy and Schwarber ended up at second with a double.
Chris Coghlan hit a smash back up the middle, off Kelby Tomlinson’s glove and into center. Schwarber scored, 1-0 Cubs. Anthony Rizzo flied out to left and Kris Bryant rolled a 3-1 pitch to short for the third out. Ryan Vogelsong made 22 pitches in the first inning, 14 for strikes.
The Cubs 1-0 lead did not last long.
Buster Posey popped a 1-0 pitch to right to start the second inning. The wind grabbed the ball and pushed it to shallow center. Jorge Soler and Dexter Fowler did not communicate after Soler called Fowler off. The ball fell in and Posey was given a double. Hunter Pence flied out to Schwarber in left center.
Brandon Crawford tied the game at one with a single to right. Posey scored. Crawford tried to take second on a 2-1 offering to Belt. David Ross made a strong throw, but it was an excellent tag by Addison Russell that erased Crawford. Brandon Belt grounded out to Coghlan at second base to end the inning … 22 pitches, 13 for strikes, for Lester after two innings.
Jorge Soler led off the second with an infield single up the middle of the diamond. Soler did not advance. Matt Duffy made an excellent diving catch toward the third baseline to take away extra bases from Addison Russell to end the inning.
The Cubs and Giants were tied at one after two innings.
Jon Lester allowed some hard contact in the third and fourth innings. The Giants could not string any hits together. Lester made 49 pitches, 30 for strikes, in the first four innings.
With the game tied at one, Lester retired the Giants in order in the fifth.
Addison Russell started the fifth with a single to left center off a 1-2 pitch from Vogelsong. Dexter Fowler extended his on-base streak to 21 games with a double off the wall in right on a 3-2 pitch. Russell was not running with full count offering and stopped at third with no outs.
Bruce Bochy went to his pen for lefty Jeremy Affeldt with Kyle Schwarber due up.
Kyle Schwarber ripped a 1-2 pitch back up the middle and off of Tomlinson’s glove. Russell and Fowler scored, 3-1 Cubs. Affeldt appeared to pick off Schwarber from first base. Schwarber put his head down and took off for second base. Belt had trouble getting the ball out of his glove and Schwarber slid in safe ahead of the tage. Coghlan grounded out to first. Schwarber went to third and held when Rizzo grounded out to first base. Kris Bryant walked.
Bruce Bochy made the slow walk again and brought in Yusmeiro Petit to face Soler. Bryant swiped second on a 1-2 pitch to Soler and the Cubs had runners on second and third with two outs.
Jorge Soler lined a 2-2 pitch over Nori Aoki’s head in left. Schwarber and Bryant scored, 5-1 Cubs. David Ross singled to center on the first pitch. Soler scored, 6-1 Cubs. Jon Lester struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs led 6-1 after five innings.
Jon Lester took the hill for the seventh inning with the Cubs leading 6-1. Lester threw 72 pitches, 44 for strikes, in the first six.
Matt Duffy walked to start the inning, the first free pass from Lester on the afternoon. Buster Posey blooped Lester’s first pitch into right. Soler let the ball fall in front of him and the Giants had runners on first and second with no outs.
Hunter Pence singled to center past a diving Addison Russell. Duffy scored, 6-2 Cubs. With runners on first and second and no outs, Crawford bounced back to the mound. Lester fielded the ball, but threw low to second. Addison Russell reached back and caught the ball, popped to his feet and completed a 1-6-3 double play. The Giants did not agree with the call. Bochy asked for the umps to take a second look. Bochy thought Russell was off second when he caught the ball. The call was upheld and the Giants had Posey on third with two outs. Lester walked Brandon Belt.
Ehire Adrianza hit for Petit and stepped in with runners on the corners and two down. Adrianza popped out to Rizzo on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
Lefty Josh Osich caught Anthony Rizzo looking at a 2-2 pitch to start the seventh. Kris Bryant doubled into the left field corner. Soler flied out to center for the second out. A passed ball allowed Bryant to move to third, but Ross struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs had a 6-2 lead after seven innings.
Tommy Hunter made his way in for the eighth inning. Nori Aoki launched a 2-0 pitch into the bleachers in right and made it a 6-3 game. Angel Pagan followed with a single to left (3-1 pitch). Kelby Tomlinson appeared to reach on an infield single to the hole at second. Maddon challenged the close call at first and it was overturned. Pagan stayed at second with one out.
Maddon summoned Hector Rondon with the game on the line in the eighth inning. Rondon struck out Matt Duffy swinging and Posey grounded out to short for the third out.
Josh Osich made quick work of Chris Denorfia (grounder to short) and Addison Russell (strikeout looking) for the first two outs in the eighth. Dexter Fowler gave the Cubs a much-needed insurance run with a booming homer to left … 7-3 Cubs. Schwarber struck out swinging to end the inning.
The game went to the ninth with the Cubs ahead by four runs, 7-3.
Hector Rondon walked Pence to start the ninth. Crawford popped a 2-2 pitch into shallow right for the first out. Pence took second with Belt at the plate. Rondon struck out Belt swinging on a 2-2 pitch for the second out. And Rondon picked up the five-out save when pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco flied out to Denorfia in right center to end the game.
Kyle Hendricks opposes Matt Cain in game three on Saturday afternoon (3:05pm CDT).