Game Two – Cubs 6, Angels 1
WP – Jon Lester (1-0) LP – Andrew Heaney (0-1) Save – None
Anthony Rizzo, Matt Szczur and Dexter Fowler went yard and Jon Lester allowed just one run over seven innings as the Cubs completed the two-game sweep over the Angels with an impressive win on Tuesday night.
Jon Lester was sensational for seven innings. Lester came within a missed tag of following Jake Arrieta’s shutout performance with one of his own. Lester found a rhythm Tuesday and pounded the strike zone. Lester kept Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in check and really did not make any mistakes in his first outing of the season.
Lester turned the game over to the bullpen with a 6-1 lead after allowing one run on four hits without a walk and four strikeouts. Lester made 93 pitches, 63 for strikes, in seven innings.
Trevor Cahill, Travis Wood and Pedro Strop set down all six batters in the eighth and ninth to end the game … Cubs pitching did not walk a batter Tuesday night.
The Cubs scored four of the six runs in the third inning highlighted by a pair of home runs.
Matt Szczur (2-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored) put the Cubs on the board with a solo shot leading off the third. David Ross (2-for-4 with a double and a run scored) followed Szczur’s blast with a double off the center field wall. And Ross scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Jason Heyward (0-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored).
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) cranked his first dinger of the season, a two-run mammoth homer over the center field wall.
Dexter Fowler (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) capped the scoring in the seventh with a two-run homer to right on a 3-0 pitch from Mike Moran.
The Cubs outscored the Angels 15-1 in the two-game series and outhit the Halos 20-7.
With Tuesday’s win, the Cubs improved to 2-0 on the season.
Matt Szczur led off the third inning of a scoreless game, and he launched the first pitch from Andrew Heaney to deep left. Szczur’s first home run of the season gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
David Ross followed Szczur’s blast with a deep drive to center. Ross just missed his first homer of the season and going back-to-back with Szczur. The ball hit off the high wall. Ross settled for a double. Dexter Fowler grounded a 2-0 pitch back up the middle. Simmons ranged behind the bag but had to make an off-balance throw with Fowler hustling down the line. Simmons throw was off the mark. It would not have mattered. Fowler reached with an infield single. Ross advanced to third with no outs.
Jason Heyward smoked a 2-0 pitch toward right. Johnny Giavotella made a diving stop, forced Fowler at second as Ross scored, 2-0 Cubs. Heyward took over at first base with one out. Kris Bryant flied out to deep left. Heyward tagged and advanced to second on the play.
Anthony Rizzo took two straight out of the zone from the Angels southpaw. And Rizzo got all of Heaney’s next pitch, and then some.
Rizzo’s first dinger of the season, a shot over the wall in center field gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead.
Ben Zobrist reached on an infield single to third. Jorge Soler lined out to third to end the inning.
The Cubs did not add to the lead in the fourth, fifth or sixth innings. And Lester took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth.
Lester retired Giavotella on a grounder to third. Yunel Escobar blooped Lester’s first pitch down the right field line. Heyward picked up the ball near the sidewall and threw a strike to Addison Russell. Escobar avoided the poor tag from Russell. Craig Gentry ripped a 3-2 pitch into left. Escobar scored the Angels first run of the series … and season.
Lester fell behind Trout 3-1. Trout rolled a 3-2 pitch back up the middle that Russell fielded near the bag. Gentry ran with the pitch. Russell did not have a play at second, threw to first in time for the out on Trout. Pujols flied out to center to end the inning.
The Cubs got the run back in the top of the seventh, plus one. Szczur reached on a bloop single to center. Ross lined out to right center, another hard hit ball from Grandpa Rossy.
Dexter Fowler stepped in with Szczur on first base and Mike Moran fell behind 3-0. Joe Maddon gave Fowler the green light on the 3-0 pitch and he rewarded his skipper with a blast to right. Fowler’s two run shot gave the Cubs a 6-1 lead.
Mike Scioscia went to his pen for lefty Jose Alvarez. Heyward and Bryant struck out swinging to end the inning.
Jon Lester pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning to end his night. Trevor Cahill and Travis Wood combined on a three-up, three-down eighth inning. And Pedro Strop made quick work of the Angels in the ninth. Strop retired Trout, Pujols and Cron on 12 pitches, eight for strikes, to end the game.
Cubs’ pitching held the Angels to one run on four hits and did not walk a batter while striking out six.
Wednesday is a day off for the Cubs and the team will spend it in Arizona ahead of the four-game series with the Diamondbacks. John Lackey makes his Cubs’ debut on Thursday night (8:40pm CDT) at Chase Field against Rubby De La Rosa.