National League Division Series Game 1 – Cubs 1, Giants 0
WP – Jon Lester (1-0) LP – Johnny Cueto (0-1) Save – Aroldis Chapman (1)
Jon Lester shut out the Giants for eight innings. And Javier Baez supplied the only run the Cubs would need. Baez hit a towering home run into the basket in left field in the bottom of the eighth and the Cubs beat the Giants in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.
The Cubs and Giants played their sixth straight game decided by one run. The Cubs managed only three hits on the night off Johnny Cueto and it was the third one that was the difference in the game.
Javier Baez (2-for-3 with a home run) stepped in with one out in the bottom of the eighth of a scoreless game. Baez put together an excellent at bat as he knew one run win the game. Baez worked a full count against Cueto before hitting a towering homer to the basket in left.
Off the bat, the ball appeared ticketed for Waveland. Baez got all of it. The ball landed and stuck in the basket and the Cubs had a 1-0 lead.
Aroldis Chapman replaced Lester for the ninth. Buster Posey just missed tying the game with two outs in the ninth. Posey smacked a double off the ivy in left that came within 10 feet of leaving the yard. With pinch-runner Gregor Blanco at second, Hunter Pence grounded a 2-2 pitch back up the middle that Baez fielded and threw to Anthony Rizzo to end the game.
Jon Lester stepped up and delivered the pitching performance the Cubs needed on Friday night. Lester gave up very little hard contact and kept the Giants off balance, and off the scoreboard, for eight innings. Lester allowed five hits, four singles and a double, with no walks and five strikeouts.
David Ross set the tone early in the game. The Giants put the leadoff runner on in each of the first three innings. The Giants tried to take advantage of Lester’s throwing issues. Ross would have nothing to do with that.
Gorkys Hernandez led off the game with a bunt single to the first base side of the mound. Hernandez tried to swipe second and Ross threw him out. The play was not close. In the third, Conor Gillaspie singled to right center. Johnny Cueto squared to bunt, Anthony Rizzo crashed. And the Cubs caught Gillaspie too far off first base. Ross threw a strike to Baez and he applied the lighting quick tag for the out.
David Ross became the first catcher to have a pickoff and a caught stealing in the same postseason game since Gabby Hartnett in the 1935 World Series.
Lester pitched out of a second and third jam in the fourth after Ben Zobrist misplayed a fly ball into a double by Angel Pagan. Lester induced a grounder to short off the bat of Brandon Crawford to end the fourth. And he did not allow another baserunner.
Jon Lester retired the last 13 batters he faced. Lester made only 86 pitches in eight innings, 60 for strikes.
The Cubs did not help the Giants and found a way to win a game in which the offense managed only three hits. Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with a double) had the Cubs other hit.
With Friday’s win, the Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five National League Division Series.
Kyle Hendricks faces Jeff Samardzija in Game 2 of the NLDS on Saturday night (7:08pm CDT) at Wrigley Field.