Game One Hundred Fifty-Eight – Cubs 10, Reds 3
WP – Jon Lester (11-12) LP – Anthony DeSclafani (9-13) Save – None
Austin Jackson drove in a career-high five runs. Starlin Castro homered and doubled in a run. Jon Lester was on base twice, started a two-out rally in the third, scored a pair of runs and retired the last 20 batters he faced as the Cubs took game two from the Reds on Wednesday night.
Jon Lester had an excellent game both on the mound and at the plate. Lester gave up a run on a pair of bloop hits and a sac fly in the first inning before dominating a Reds’ lineup without Joey Votto or Todd Frazier. Lester settled in after a double from Brayan Pena in the second inning and did not allow another batter to reach base for the remainder of his outing. Lester ended his night by setting down the last 20 Reds that came to the plate. Lester allowed one run on three hits without a walk and nine strikeouts. Lester made 101 pitches, 75 for strikes, in eight innings.
With nine strikeouts Wednesday, Jon Lester passed Ken Holtzman (202, 1970) for the most strikeouts in a single season by a left-handed pitcher in Cubs history. Lester struck out 207 batters in 205 innings.
The Cubs had no answers for Anthony DeSclafani through the first 2 2/3 innings. DeSclafani retired the first eight batters he faced, six on strikeouts. Jon Lester worked a two-out walk in the third and DeSclafani was never the same.
The Cubs scored two runs in the third on an Austin Jackson (3-for-5 with two doubles and five RBI) double and went on to put runs on the board in six of the next seven innings.
Jon Lester (1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored) singled to start the fifth, ended up at third after two wild pitches and scored on Austin Jackson’s second double of the night.
Austin Jackson and Starlin Castro led an offense Wednesday that scored 10 runs on 16 hits and four walks, one of the free passes by Chris Denorfia with the bases loaded in the eighth that forced in a run. Six of the 10 runs scored with two outs.
Starlin Castro (4-for-5 with a double, a home run, two RBI and three runs scored) had another huge night and made one of the best defensive plays of his career. Castro collected four more hits, smacked a solo home run leading off the sixth and scored three runs.
Addison Russell (3-for-5 with a double, two RBI and a run scored) had three hits and drove in a pair of runs. Anthony Rizzo (2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored) was on base twice and scored two runs. And Javier Baez (1-for-2 with a double and a run scored) doubled, scored a run and played both third and first base on Wednesday night.
The Cubs finished September with a 19-9 record.
With Wednesday’s win, the Cubs improved to a season-high 28 games over .500 with a 93-65 record.
Kyle Schwarber, Austin Jackson and Kris Bryant struck out swinging in the first inning. Anthony DeSclafani made only 12 pitches in the opening frame, eight for strikes, and struck out the side in order.
Jon Lester started his night by striking out Jason Bourgeois swinging (2-2 pitch). Tyler Holt blooped a 0-1 pitch out of the reach of Starlin Castro and into right center. Brandon Phillips followed and looped a 1-1 pitch down the right field line. Holt stopped at third on Phillip’s double. Jay Bruce lifted a 0-1 pitch to center. Holt tagged and scored, 1-0 Reds. Phillips went to third but was stranded when Suarez bounced out to Bryant at third base. Lester made 14 pitches, 11 for strikes, in the first.
The Reds had a 1-0 lead after one complete.
Anthony DeSclafani was cruising. DeSclafani retired the first eight batters he faced with six strikeouts. But with two outs in the third, DeSclafani walked Jon Lester … and he was not the same the rest of his outing.
Kyle Schwarber followed the Lester free pass with a single to right through the shift, the Cubs first hit. Austin Jackson drove a 2-2 pitch off the wall in right center. Lester trotted in and Schwarber scored all the way from first base … 2-1 Cubs. Bryant shattered his bat and flied out to center for the third out.
It was 1-2-3 in the third for Lester … 39 pitches for Lester after three, 31 for strikes.
The Cubs led 2-1 after three innings.
Anthony Rizzo started the fourth with a double of the base of the wall in left. Starlin Castro rolled a 1-1 pitch to short. Eugenio Suarez fielded the ball cleanly but Rizzo danced off second and caught Suarez’s attention. Rizzo deked Suarez into thinking he was going to third. Castro hustled down the line and beat the throw from Suarez. Jorge Soler grounded into a 6-3 double play. Rizzo went to third with two outs.
Addison Russell ripped DeSclafani’s first pitch back up the middle and into center. Rizzo scored, 3-1 Cubs. Russell swiped second on a 1-0 pitch to Ross. DeSclafani struck out Ross to end the inning.
Jon Lester set the Reds down in order in the fourth. Lester made 48 pitches, 38 for strikes, in four innings.
After four complete it was 3-1 Cubs.
The Cubs tacked on in the fifth after Jon Lester started the inning with a single to center off DeSclafani. A wild pitch on a 1-0 offering to Schwarber allowed Lester to take second base. Schwarber fouled out to third. And the second wild pitch of the inning on a 0-2 offering to Jackson let Lester advance to third base.
Austin Jackson pulled a 1-2 pitch into the gap in left center. Lester scored, 4-1 Cubs, and Jackson hustled to second with a double. Bryant flied out to right center and Rizzo struck out swinging to end the inning.
Starlin Castro made a sensational diving stop up the middle to take away a hit from Brayan Pena to start the fifth.
Jon Lester struck out Ivan DeJesus Jr. and DeSclafani to end the fifth … and in the process Lester passed Ken Holtzman for the most strikeouts by a Cubs left-hander in a single season.
The Cubs had a 4-1 lead after five innings.
Starlin Castro started the sixth with a long home run to left center, 5-1 Cubs.
Jorge Soler followed Castro and walked. Bryan Price decided that was enough for Anthony DeSclafani and went to his pen for Sam LeCure. Russell bounced a 3-2 pitch to third. Soler was forced at second but Russell beat Phillips’ throw to first. Russell swiped second with Ross at the plate. Ross grounded out to short and Lester was caught looking at a 2-2 pitch for the third out.
With Javier Baez at third, Bryant in left and Schwarber in right, Lester pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning.
It was 5-1 Cubs after six innings.
Tony Cingrani started the eighth for the Reds with the Cubs leading 5-1. Starlin Castro singled to center and moved to third on a double to right by Javier Baez (0-2 pitch). Addison Russell pushed a bunt up the first baseline. Cingrani made a sliding stop, Castro could not score and the bases were loaded with no outs. Ross struck out swinging and Lester was called out on strikes.
Chris Denorfia worked a bases loaded walk. Castro scored, 6-1 Cubs.
Austin Jackson smoked a single to center. Baez and Russell scored, 8-1 Cubs. Price went back to his pen for Ryan Mattheus. Kris Bryant lined out to left for the third out.
Jon Lester pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
The Cubs had an 8-1 lead after eight innings.
Bryan Price went to Collin Balester for the ninth. Anthony Rizzo singled to center and scored on a Starlin Castro double to left center, 9-1 Cubs. Baez struck out swinging. Addison Russell made it a 10-1 game with a double to left. Castro scored. David Ross singled to left. Russell stopped at third with one out. Tommy La Stella batted for Lester and popped out to short. And Denorfia went down swinging for the third out.
The game went to the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs leading 10-1.
Neil Ramirez replaced Lester for the ninth and really struggled with his command. Jason Bourgeois started the ninth with a single to right just under Javier Baez’s glove. Baez moved to first base in the ninth. Ramirez walked Holt and a wild pitch put runners on second and third with no outs. Brandon Phillips drove a 2-1 pitch out to right. Denorfia caught the ball. Bourgeois tagged and scored, 10-2 Cubs. Holt went to third on the play and he scored on a sac fly to center by Jay Bruce. Ramirez struck out Suarez swinging to end the game.
The Cubs wrap up the series in Cincinnati on Thursday morning (11:35am CDT). Jason Hammel takes on John Lamb.