The Cubs’ power was on full display and Jon Lester put forth a masterful pitching performance to send the fans home happy on a day in which the weather delayed the game by an hour and five minutes. Neither offense was able to put many men on base, as both pitching staffs combined to walk one batter. Rob Manfred was probably happy, as it only lasted two hours and five minutes. The pitchers worked quickly and it made for an enjoyable game.
Lester was as good as we’ve seen him so far this year. He had the Giants offense off balance the entire game and struck out 10 — a season high — while walking none. It was reminiscent of the last time he faced the Giants, a start in which he also threw a one-run complete game. Greg Maddux would have been proud of this start, since Lester finished the game having thrown 99 pitches.
The Cubs only left one runner on base, so it’s a good thing they hit three home runs tonight. Otherwise they might still be playing.
Kyle Schwarber’s 470-foot home run was the Cubs’ longest of the year and it was the first to travel onto Sheffield since Anthony Rizzo blasted one out there in 2014. Jason Heyward lined one that barely eclipsed the basket on the first pitch of the at-bat, a pretty bad pitch by Johnny Cueto. Anthony Rizzo hit a towering fly ball into the rightfield bleachers that drove in Kris Bryant and capped the scoring.
There wasn’t much need for defense, but Ian Happ made an excellent sliding catch to rob Brandon Belt of a base hit in the top of the 7th inning.
Stats that Matter
- Jon Lester did not pitch into a three-ball count at any point tonight. To say he was sharp is an understatement.
- Lester’s 10 strikeouts was the most he had recorded in a game since June 1, 2016 against the Dodgers. In that game he also gave up one run and threw a complete game.
- Lester’s game score of 93 is the highest in the NL so far this season.
The Cubs did enough against a tough pitcher to win the game and Lester shut down an offense that has struggled this year. They still sit two games out of first in the NL Central
Tomorrow, Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs will face Matt Moore and the San Francisco Giants at 7:05 CT. The game will be broadcast on CSN Chicago.