Game Forty-One – Cubs 3, Giants 5
WP – Matt Cain (1-5) LP – Jon Lester (4-3) Save – Santiago Casilla (11)
Jon Lester gave up five runs in the shortest start for any Cubs hurler this season. Lester was rocked for five runs in 2 2/3 innings. Kris Bryant homered in the third inning. Javier Baez singled in Jorge Soler in the eighth and Dexter Fowler launched a homer in the ninth. The Cubs scored two runs in the final two innings but could not overcome the early deficit and lost to the Giants in the middle game of the weekend series.
The Cubs squared up Matt Cain in the first three innings and ran up his pitch. The Cubs could not string together any hits and once the Giants jumped out to a 5-1 lead, Cain challenged Cubs hitters and came out on top.
Matt Cain not only won his first game since July 22, 2015, his first hit in over two years (May 10, 2014) ended up being the game winner. Cain rocketed a 3-2 pitch over Dexter Fowler’s head in center with two outs in the second inning of a scoreless game. Jon Lester threw him a cookie and the two-run double ended up being the difference on Saturday night.
Jon Lester had just a horrible outing. Lester appeared to get frustrated with home plate umpire Greg Gibson in the first inning and allowed the inconsistent strike zone to affect his performance. Lester did not get several calls but instead of focusing on the job at hand, he let it get the best of him.
Lester served up the two-out, two-run double to Cain in the second inning. Buster Posey launched a two-run homer in the third and Matt Duffy scored on a one-out double, that was changed to a single after replay overturned the call on the field, by back-up catcher Trevor Brown.
Jon Lester could not get through three innings before Joe Maddon had to call on Trevor Cahill. Lester gave up five runs on six hits with three walks and a strikeout. Lester made 75 pitches, 45 for strikes, in 2 2/3 innings.
Pitchers will have bad days. Even the best of the best will give up a bunch of runs and take an early shower. Lester’s poor outing Saturday appeared to be the direct result of several early calls not going his way.
First time this season a Cubs’ starting pitcher did not complete at least five innings, and the streak of starters pitching at least five innings dating back to last Sept. 27, 2015 was snapped. The Cubs were the third team (1981 Pirates, 2015 Mets) to have their starting pitchers complete five or more innings in each of its first 40 games of a season.
The Cubs managed 10 hits and four walks. The Cubs actually outhit the Giants 10-9. Kris Bryant (2-for-4 with a home run and a walk) and Dexter Fowler (3-for-5 with a home run) hit home runs. Jorge Soler (1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run scored) doubled in the eighth and scored on a Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a RBI) single to center. The Cubs finished the game 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
Ben Zobrist (2-for-5) and David Ross (1-for-3) also had hits on Saturday night.
The Cubs bullpen kept the team in the game. Trevor Cahill (2 1/3 innings), Clayton Richard (one inning), Justin Grimm (one inning) and Travis Wood (one inning) did not allow the Giants to add on in relief of Jon Lester.
With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 29-12 on the season.
Kyle Hendricks faces Madison Bumgarner on Sunday (7:05pm CDT) under the lights on Sunday Night Baseball in the series finale.