The Chicago Cubs (31-17) battled their way back in their four-game series with the San Diego Padres (22-25), dropping the first two but winning on Saturday and Sunday to earn a split. Jon Lester had a day to remember and the Cubs won 5-4, via MLB The Show 20.
The game didn’t get off to a great start for Lester, however, as Juan Lagares singled to start the bottom of the 1st and Manny Machado hit a two-run homer to deep left to put the Padres ahead, 2-0. The Cubs responded in the top of the 2nd when Kyle Schwarber hit a solo shot to right-center against San Diego starter Dinelson Lamet. That would be all the Cubs would get in the inning.
Tommy Pham’s turn hit a two-run homer in the 3rd that extended the Padres lead to 4-1, but Lester wasn’t going to be done in by two swings of the bat. He continued to grind it out on the mound, throwing 5 2/3 innings with those four earned runs on nine hits and two walks, striking out five.
The Cubs scored again in the 4th when an RBI single to center field by none other than Lester brought them to within 4-2. Ian Happ drove in two runs in the 5th with a triple, tying the game at 4-4 and ending Lamet’s day after just 4 2/3 innings pitched. He also got tagged with four earned runs, allowing seven hits and four walks with six strikeouts.
The Padres went to reliever Trey Wingenter to pick up the slack in the middle innings and he was able to close out the 5th without any more drama. Nico Hoerner led off the 6th by grounding out to third base, bringing up Lester, who untied the game with one big swing.
The home run was the first of the season for Lester and the fourth of his career. The left-hander has hit one homer in each of the last four years.
Rowan Wick was the first man out of the ‘pen in relief of Lester, throwing a perfect 1 1/3 innings with one strikeout. Brandon Morrow pitched a clean 8th inning with one strikeout, then Craig Kimbrel was able to pick up his 18th save with a perfect 9th.
Notes: Lester’s two-hit day broke his hitless streak to start the season. He is now 2-for-12 with a home run, two walks, two RBI, and one run scored … Morrow has now made four appearances with the Cubs, throwing four innings and allowing zero earned runs. Ross said after the game that on days in which he is cleared to pitch, Morrow will be the primary setup man for Kimbrel … The Cubs traveled to Pittsburgh after Sunday’s game to allow the team to take their off-day on Monday to rest. They begin a three-game road series with the Pirates on Tuesday.
Lester – 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI
Schwarber – 3-for-5, 2B, HR, RBI
Rizzo – 2-for-4, BB, 2B
Happ – 1-for-5, 3B, 2 RBI
Pham – 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
Machado – 2-for-3, BB, HR, 2 RBI
Lagares – 2-for-4, R
Winning Pitcher – Lester (3-4)
Losing Pitcher – Wingenter (0-1)
Save – Kimbrel (18)
Home Runs – Schwarber (7), Lester (1), Pham (6), Machado (4)
Reds – 31-16
Cubs – 31-17
Brewers – 22-26
Cardinals – 19-28
Pirates – 16-29