Game Ninety-Two – Cubs 5, Mets 1
WP – Jon Lester (10-4) LP – Steven Matz (7-6) Save – Hector Rondon (16)
Jon Lester held the Mets to one run over 7 2/3 innings. Anthony Rizzo launched a three-run homer off Steven Matz. Matt Szczur doubled twice and scored a pair of insurance runs as the Cubs beat the Mets on Monday night at the old ballyard.
The Cubs played a complete game and won for the third time in four tries out of the break. The Cubs did all of the little things right again and even manufactured a run in the sixth. The Cubs played excellent defense and took advantage of the Mets mistakes. Anthony Rizzo delivered the big hit, a three-run dinger in the third and Jon Lester took care of the rest.
Jon Lester was outstanding Monday night. Lester bounced back from two poor outings with one of his better starts of the season. Lester made only one mistake in 7 2/3 innings, a solo homer by Wilmer Flores, and allowed just three hits over the first seven innings. Lester had excellent breaking stuff and kept the ball down.
Lester gave up a two-out single to Curtis Granderson in the eighth. Joe Maddon decided that the fourth hit off Lester was enough and went to his pen with Yoenis Cespedes due up and the Cubs leading 4-1. Pedro Strop made it very interesting. Strop plunked Cespedes with a 1-2 pitch and Neil Walker stepped in representing the tying run. Walker could not check his swing on a 2-2 pitch and struck out swinging to end the inning.
Jon Lester gave up one run on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Lester made 98 pitches, 61 for strikes, in 7 2/3 innings.
Maddon tried to use Carl Edwards Jr. in the ninth with a four-run lead. Edwards Jr. has come a long way but he gave up back-to-back one-out singles to Asdrubal Cabrera and pinch-hitter Michael Conforto. Maddon called on Hector Rondon and he recorded two outs on six pitches. Travis d’Arnaud grounded a 2-2 pitch to Baez at second. And Baez tagged Conforto as he ran by and flipped to Rizzo to complete the game ending double play.
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) supplied all the runs the Cubs would need in the third inning. Rizzo had a tremendous at-bat against Steven Matz. Rizzo fouled off five straight 2-2 offerings from Matz before launching the 10th pitch of the at-bat into the bleachers in right center. Rizzo’s three-run homer with Javier Baez (2-for-4 with a run scored) and Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with a HBP and a run scored) on board gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead.
The Cubs manufactured a run in the sixth inning.
Matt Szczur (3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored) had the first three-hit game of his career. Szczur led off the sixth with a double to left and chased Matz from the game. Albert Almora Jr. (1-for-4 with a RBI) played the game the right way. After failing to get a bunt down on consecutive pitches from Seth Lugo, Almora Jr. rolled a 0-2 pitch to the right side. Walker picked up the grounder and threw him out a first base as Szczur advanced to third with one out.
David Ross (0-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly RBI) lifted a 2-2 pitch to center. Juan Lagares caught the ball, Szczur tagged and scored, 4-0 Cubs. Szczur and Almora Jr. went to work again in the eighth inning and it lead to the Cubs’ fifth run.
Matt Szczur doubled down the left field line with two outs. Albert Almora Jr. ripped a 1-1 pitch from Erik Goeddel into left. Szczur was waived in. Cespedes took his eyes off the ball and it rolled past him. Szczur scored easily, 5-1 Cubs, and Almora Jr. ended up at third. Ross flied out to right center to end the inning.
The Cubs scored five runs on 10 hits with a walk and a hit by pitch. The Cubs finished the game 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base.
It was a good night for a Cubs team that looks a lot like the one that played in April and May.
With Monday’s win, the Cubs improved to 56-36 on the season.
Jake Arrieta takes on Noah Syndergaard in game two with the Mets on Tuesday night (6:05pm CDT).