Game One Hundred Forty-Five – Cubs 7, Cardinals 0
WP – Jon Lester (17-4) LP – Carlos Martinez (14-8) Save – None
Jon Lester shutout the Cardinals for eight innings and drove in Javier Baez with the game’s first run. David Ross threw out two runners at second base and hit a mammoth two-run homer to center field that took Carlos Martinez out of his game. Anthony Rizzo launched two home runs, a solo shot in the sixth and a two-run blast in the ninth. And Kris Bryant tripled in Jorge Soler as the Cubs took two of three from the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
The Cubs clinched at least a tie for the NL Central Division title with Wednesday’s win in St. Louis. The Cubs magic number is down to one.
Jon Lester was simply brilliant. Lester dominated the Cardinals for eight innings. Lester allowed just two hits through seven innings, three total on the afternoon. Lester and David Ross did not allow a single runner to reach second base. In other words, the Cardinals did not put a runner in scoring position the entire game.
Lester had pinpoint command in his eight shutout innings and played excellent defense. Lester pounced on several would-be infield hits and turned them into outs. The Cardinals made very little hard contact against Lester, a majority of the outs were rather routine.
Jon Lester allowed just three singles and one walk in eight innings. Lester struck out eight and recorded 10 groundball outs on the 26 batters he faced. Lester made 104 pitches, 67 for strikes.
Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) started the third inning with a double to the left field corner. Baez scored when Jon Lester (1-for-3 with a RBI) lashed a 1-1 pitch back up the middle and into center field.
Lester not only picked up the win on the mound, he also was credited with driving in the winning run.
David Ross (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) made it a 3-0 game in the fifth inning. With Jason Heyward (2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) on first base, Ross crushed a 1-1 pitch from Martinez. Ross launched a two-run shot well-up the berm in center field (estimated 429 feet). Ross delivered the knockout blow on Wednesday. Carlos Martinez was not the same after Ross’ home run.
Anthony Rizzo (2-for-5 with two home runs and three RBI) started playing longball in the sixth. Rizzo pulled a 0-2 pitch from Martinez into the stands in right. Rizzo made it a 4-0 game and with the way Lester was pitching it was a rather comfortable four-run lead.
The Cubs scored three jug runs in the ninth and turned what wasn’t a close game to begin with into a blowout.
Jorge Soler (1-for-1 with a run scored) hit for Lester with one out in the ninth. Soler reached on an infield single to the hole at shortstop. Dexter Fowler (2-for-5) went down swinging.
Kris Bryant (1-for-5 with a triple and a RBI) drove a 1-0 pitch to center. Randal Grichuk tried to make a diving catch and missed. The ball skipped past him and it was off to the races for Bryant. Soler scored easily, 5-0 Cubs. The only question, would Gary Jones waive Bryant in? Bryant stopped at third with a triple. And he trotted home with the Cubs’ sixth run on the next pitch.
Anthony Rizzo smoked Wacha’s first pitch. And Rizzo’s second blast of the game gave the Cubs a 7-0 lead. The Cubs scored seven runs on 12 hits and one walk.
Hector Rondon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out Lester’s gem and the Cubs’ 14th shutout of the season.
The Cubs won two of three at Busch Stadium and finished the nine-game road trip with a 5-4 record. The Cubs won six of the nine games (6-3) in St. Louis this season.
With Wednesday’s win, the Cubs improved to 93-52 on the season.
The Cubs open a 10-game homestand on Thursday night (7:05pm CDT) with the first of four against the Brewers. Mike Montgomery is scheduled to face Jimmy Nelson in game one.