Game One Hundred Thirteen – Cubs 9, Brewers 2
WP – Jon Lester (8-8) LP – Tyler Cravy (0-4) Save – None
Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwarber hit back-to-back jacks in the fifth inning and broke a 1-1 tie. Anthony Rizzo went yard with a mammoth shot to center. Kyle Schwarber added a two-run blast to left center in the seventh and Chris Denorfia smacked a solo homer in the eighth. A season-high five home runs backed Jon Lester as the Cubs completed the sweep over the Brewers on Thursday afternoon.
The Cubs finished with a perfect homestand, the first 7-0 homestand since May 26-June 1, 2008, and the seven-game winning streak is a high water mark for the season. Joe Maddon’s team has won 13 of 14.
The offense woke up in the fifth inning and started hitting the ball out of the yard. Jorge Soler (1-for-4 with a RBI) gave the Cubs a short-lived 1-0 lead in the second inning when he singled in Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with a home run, a walk and two run scored). After David Ross threw out Jean Segura trying to swipe third base in the top of the fifth, the momentum shifted and the Cubs played longball in home half. And it all started with a one-out walk by Addison Russell (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored).
Dexter Fowler (2-for-3 with a double, a home run, two walks, two RBI and three runs scored) lined a two-run homer off the bricks in right with Russell at first base and broke the 1-1 tie. Kyle Schwarber (3-for-4 with two home runs, a walk and four RBI) followed Fowler with a solo shot to center. The back-to-back jacks gave the Cubs a 4-1 lead.
Kyle Schwarber went opposite field in the seventh. His second longball of the day, a two-run homer gave the Cubs a 7-2 lead. Chris Denorfia (1-for-1 with a home run) added a solo shot in the eighth and Schwarber complete his big day with a single to left in the eighth that scored Fowler.
The Cubs scored nine runs and five of the 11 hits left the old ballyard.
Jon Lester put together a solid outing on a day with the wind blowing out. Lester had a bad third inning and let the Brewers tie the game without a ball leaving the infield. Lester was charged with two infield singles, one by Jean Segura and the other from Ryan Braun. But the Brewers swiped four bases in the third and his errant pickoff attempt put Segura in scoring position with one out. Lester did not cover first base on the bouncer from Braun that Segura scored on to tie the game. Lester wiggled out of the ugly inning after allowing just the one run.
Jon Lester ended up going six innings, his shortest outing since June 25. Lester allowed two runs on seven hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts. Lester made 105 pitches, 65 for strikes.
With the 10 strikeouts, Jon Lester became the first left-handed starter in franchise history with four-double digit strikeout games in a single season.
Jason Motte, Tommy Hunter and Travis Wood kept the ball in the park and the Brewers off the scoreboard over the last three innings of the game.
With Thursday’s win, the Cubs improved to a season-high 17 games over .500 with a 65-48 record.
Jon Lester allowed a bloop single to Hernan Perez with two down in the second inning. Logan Schafer grounded out to Coghlan for the third out. Lester needed 27 pitches, 20 for strikes, to complete two innings Thursday.
Anthony Rizzo walked to start the second inning. Kris Bryant singled to left center on a 3-2 pitch. Rizzo hustled to third. With runners on the corners, Jorge Soler singled to left (0-2 pitch). Rizzo scored, 1-0 Cubs. David Ross did not get the job done and advance the runners. Ross struck out swinging (0-2 pitch) for the first out. Maddon had Lester swing away at the first two pitches. Jon Lester bunted through a 0-2 offering for the second out. Addison Russell popped out to Herrera in shallow right for the third out. The Cubs let Cravy off the hook. Cravy made 40 pitches, 25 for strikes, in first two innings.
At the end of two, the Cubs led 1-0.
The Brewers tied the game in the third inning without a ball leaving the infield. Tyler Cravy bunted back to Lester for the first out. Lester fielded the ball and his one-hop throw to Rizzo made it there in time for the out. Jean Segura chopped a 0-2 pitch off the plate toward third. Bryant fielded the ball and threw to first. Bryant’s throw was late and toward the homeplate side of the bag. Segura reached but did not advance to second.
Lester made his first throw to first base since April. The throw was to the right field side, Rizzo had no chance to make a play and Segura went to second. Lester struck out Lucroy swinging (3-2 pitch) for the second out. While Lester was holding the ball before making the first pitch to Braun, Segura took off for third base. Lester did not make a throw. Ryan Braun bounced a 3-2 pitch off the plate toward first. Rizzo caught the ball, but Lester did not cover the bag. Segura scored, game tied at one. The always-looking-to-pad-his-stats Ryan Braun stole second on Lester’s first pitch to Davis. Braun also stole third on a 2-1 pitch to Davis. Lester walked Davis and put runners on the corners with two outs. Davis swiped second on the first pitch to Rogers. Lester finally got out of the inning when Jason Rogers hit a routine fly to Soler in right … 50 pitches for Lester after three innings, 32 for strikes.
The Cubs managed a one-out walk by Kyle Schwarber in the third, but that was all. Cravy threw 58 pitches, 35 for strikes, in three innings.
The game was tied at one after three innings.
With the Cubs and Brewers still tied at one, Lester struck out Tyler Cravy swinging on a 1-2 pitch to start the fifth. Jean Segura chopped a 1-1 pitch over Bryant’s head and into left field. Segura hustled into second with a double. Segura took off for third on the first pitch to Lucroy. And Ross threw him out. Lucroy walked and Braun singled to right. With runners on first and second, Lester caught Khris Davis looking at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning. Lester made 78 pitches, 51 for strikes, in five innings.
Addison Russell walked with one out in the fifth. Dexter Fowler lined a 1-2 pitch from Cravy to deep right. The ball appeared to hit off the wall behind the basket. The ball bounced back into the field. Fowler stopped at second as Russell scored. But the umps took another look and after further review, Fowler’s two-run homer gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead.
Kyle Schwarber followed Fowler and just crushed a 2-2 pitch from Cravy. Schwarber’s solo shot to center made it 4-1 Cubs and chased Tyler Cravy from the game.
Craig Counsel brought in Corey Knebel and he struck out Coghlan looking for the second out.
Anthony Rizzo golfed a 2-2 pitch from Knebel out to center and the third home run in four batters gave the Cubs a 5-1 lead.
Kris Bryant grounded out to third to end the inning.
After five complete, the Cubs had a 5-1 lead.
Jon Lester retired Jason Rogers on a pop out to second for the first out in the sixth. Elian Herrera doubled to left and scored on a single to left by Hernan Perez … 5-2 Cubs. Perez stole second with Schafer at the plate. Lester caught Schafer looking at a 3-2 pitch and struck out pinch-hitter Shane Peterson swinging at a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
Starlin Castro hit for Lester with two outs in the sixth and singled to left center, but that was all for the Cubs off Kyle Lohse.
The Cubs led 5-2 after six innings.
Jason Motte gave up a two-out single to Braun in the seventh. Motte was sharp Thursday and he struck out Davis swinging to end the seventh. And the Cubs went back to work against Lohse after the stretch.
Dexter Fowler walked to start the seventh. Counsell replaced Lohse with lefty Neal Cotts to face Schwarber.
Kyle Schwarber drove a 1-0 pitch from the veteran lefty to the opposite field. Schwarber’s second longball of the game, a two-run blast, put the Cubs up by five runs at 7-2.
Jonathan Herrera doubled into the left field corner after Schwarber’s shot. Rizzo rolled a 2-2 pitch to first. Herrera advanced to third but was stranded when Bryant was called out on strikes and Soler fouled out to Rogers to end the inning.
The Cubs had a 7-2 lead after seven innings.
Tommy Hunter struck out Rogers swinging to start the eighth. Herrera doubled to center. But Perez grounded out to third. Bryant looked Herrera back and threw across the diamond for the out. Maddon went to his pen for Travis Wood. And Logan Schafer flied out to left to end the inning.
Francisco Rodriguez made his first appearance of the series in the eighth. Chris Denorfia gave the Cubs an 8-2 lead with a one-out solo homer into the bleachers in left center. Dexter Fowler doubled to right after Russell popped out right. And Kyle Schwarber singled to left. Fowler scored and made it a 9-2 ballgame. Herrera lined out to center to end the inning.
Travis Wood stayed in for the ninth with the Cubs leading 9-2. And Wood retired the Brewers in order to end the game.
The Cubs travel to the South Side on Friday (3:05pm CDT) to open a three-game series with the White Sox. Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to face Jeff Samardzija in game one.