National League Championship Series Game 1 – Cubs 2, Mets 4
WP – Matt Harvey (1-0) LP – Jon Lester (0-1) Save – Jeurys Familia (1)
Jon Lester had a rough night while the offense could not get on track against Matt Harvey. Lester served up two home runs, allowed four runs in 6 2/3 innings and the Cubs dropped Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday night.
Jon Lester was not sharp. The Mets jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a Daniel Murphy home run. Lester continued to pitch from behind in the count and it caught up to him in the sixth and seventh innings. While the Cubs could not get a ball to fall in, just about everything seemed to go the Mets way Saturday night.
The Mets hit a pair of home runs that accounted for two of the four runs Lester allowed. Joe Maddon left Lester in for the seventh inning and the Mets tacked on a run on a sac fly from Curtis Granderson. The Cubs defense made several outstanding plays behind Lester but two plays led to runs on outs the Cubs should have made.
Jon Lester gave up four runs on nine hits with a walk and five strikeouts. Lester made 107 pitches, 65 for strikes, in 6 2/3 innings. Justin Grimm picked up the last out in the seventh. Clayton Richard and Trevor Cahill combined on a scoreless eighth.
Anthony Rizzo (0-for-2 with a walk, a HBP and a run scored) was hit by a 0-2 pitch from Matt Harvey leading off the fifth inning for the Cubs’ first baserunner of the game. Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) followed with a double to center, that should have been a triple, for the Cubs’ first hit. Rizzo scored on the play and tied the game at one.
Kyle Schwarber (1-for-4 with a home run) cranked his fourth home run of the post-season in the eighth inning to make it a 4-2 game and finally end Matt Harvey’s night.
The Cubs put runners on in the eighth and ninth against Jeurys Familia but were unable to mount a comeback.
The offense scored two runs on five hits with two walks and a hit by pitch. The Cubs hit the ball hard and made good contact but at the end of the night had very little to show for it.
Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler turned in solid plays in the field. It was the two defensive miscues that really stood out because it cost the team two runs.
With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs are behind 1-0 in the best of seven series.
The Mets took a 1-0 lead into the fifth inning. Matt Harvey was perfect through four innings and made a first inning home run by Daniel Murphy hold up. Harvey needed only 44 pitches, 32 for strikes, to retire the first 12 batters he faced on Saturday night.
Anthony Rizzo led off the fifth and quickly fell behind 0-2. Harvey nailed Rizzo in the right arm. And the Cubs had their first baserunner of the night.
Starlin Castro lined Harvey’s first pitch over Juan Lagares’ head in center. Rizzo scored from first and tied the game at one.
Jorge Soler grounded out to third base. Javier Baez ripped a single into left. Gary Jones waived in Castro and Yoenis Cespedes threw a one-hop strike to the plate. Castro was out. The play was not close. Baez stole second on a 0-1 pitch to Ross and went to third when d’Arnaud’s throw went into center field. Harvey intentionally walked David Ross. With runners on the corners and two down, Lester struck out swinging to end the inning. Harvey made 61 pitches in five innings, 43 for strikes.
Jon Lester struck out Michael Cuddyer looking for the first out in the fifth. Wilmer Flores and Juan Lagares reached on back-to-back singles to left. Matt Harvey stepped in with runners on first and second with one down. Harvey bunted a 0-2 pitch to Rizzo and he threw a strike to Bryant to force Flores. But Bryant dropped the ball in the exchange. Instead turning two and getting out of the inning, the Cubs gave the Mets an extra out.
Curtis Granderson blooped a 0-2 pitch into center. Lagares scored, 2-1 Mets. Lester caught Wright looking at a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
The Mets led 2-1 after five innings.
The Cubs hit two rockets in the sixth but ended up with nothing to show for it. Harvey sat the Cubs down in order. Harvey needed 71 pitches, 49 for strikes, to complete six innings.
The Mets tacked on in the sixth. Javier Baez tracked down a bloop into shallow left off the bat of Daniel Murphy for the first out. Anthony Rizzo reached into the stands and caught a foul ball from Cespedes for the second out. But Lester fell behind Travis d’Arnaud. And the Mets’ catcher launched a 3-1 pitch that hit the Big Apple beyond the center field wall … 3-1 Mets. Cuddyer singled to right (2-0 pitch). Lester finally got out of the inning when Flores flied out to left.
The Mets led 3-1 after six innings.
Rizzo walked to start the seventh and was almost doubled off when Castro lined out to second. Soler reached on an infield single off Harvey’s glove. With two on and one down, Baez struck out swinging. Tommy La Stella hit for Ross and went down swinging (2-2 pitch) for the third out.
Jon Lester stayed in for the seventh. Castro moved to shortstop and La Stella stayed in the game at second base. Miguel Montero took over behind the plate.
Juan Lagares led off the seventh with a bloop single to left center. Harvey bunted Lagares to second and he stole third on a 2-1 pitch to Granderson. With the infield in, Curtis Granderson lifted a 3-2 pitch to short left. Schwarber caught the ball and made a strong throw to the plate. Montero was set up out of position to make a tag on Lagares and he scored, 4-1 Mets. Montero was behind the plate and could not apply a tag in time for the out. Maddon decided that was enough for Lester and went to his pen for Justin Grimm. David Wright grounded out to Rizzo to end the inning.
The Mets led 4-1 after seven innings.
The Cubs cut into the Mets lead in the eighth. Harvey retired pinch-hitter Chris Coghlan on a flyout to left center and Fowler popped out to left center.
Kyle Schwarber pulled a 1-0 pitch from Harvey over the wall in right center … 4-2 Mets. Terry Collins made the slow walk and replaced Harvey with his closer, Jeurys Familia.
Kris Bryant put together an excellent at bat. Bryant was down 0-2, worked a full count and walked. Rizzo grounded Familia’s first pitch to short for the third out.
Clayton Richard and Trevor Cahill combined on a 1-2-3 eighth inning. And the game went to the ninth with the Cubs down 4-2.
Starlin Castro worked the count trying to get on base. Castro popped out to right center (3-2 pitch) and Soler struck out swinging (0-2 pitch). Miguel Montero singled to center. Tommy La Stella smoked a 0-1 pitch to the hole at second. Daniel Murphy made a diving stop and threw to first base to end the game.
Jake Arrieta takes on Noah Syndergaard in Game 2 of the NLCS on Sunday night.