Jon Lester still winless, Padres win 5-2
After back-to-back infield hits by pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia and Dexter Fowler with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Chicago Cubs were unable to capitalize as Joaquin Benoit slammed the door on Jorge Soler, giving the Padres a 5-2 series victory.
Soler put the Cubs (6-4) on the board first on a RBI single to center field, allowing Dexter Fowler to score, making it a 1-0 ballgame. Rookie third baseman Kris Bryant struck out after Anthony Rizzo popped out, but Starlin Castro reached first base safely on a catching error by Padres first baseman Yangervis Solarte.
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With two outs in the bottom of the first, outfielder Chris Coghlan extended Chicago’s lead to 2-0 early on a RBI single to right field. Moments later, starter Jon Lester allowed the Padres to tie things up at two apiece on a two-run shot by Will Middlebrooks to left center field.
Lester (0-2, 6.89 ERA) had a somewhat decent outing aside from that home run he gave up to Middlebrooks. Skipper Joe Maddon pulled him from the game after 5 1/3 innings, as he surrendered only three earned runs on six hits with four walks and six strikeout.
Shortly after the Padres (7-5) tied the game at the top of the second, Clint Barmes hit a sharp ground ball towards the mound, resulting in Lester attempting to make a play. Lester fielded the ball, but it was stuck in the webbing of his glove, which led him to tossing the entire thing over to first base to record the out.
It was a funny moment that I’m sure we’ll continue to see for the rest of the season.
San Diego would gain the lead in the top of the sixth inning on a RBI single from Will Venable off Brian Schlitter. Schlitter would be replaced by pinch-hitter Miguel Montero, who would ground out during the bottom half of the frame.
Former Cub Andrew Cashner (1-2, 2.65 ERA) worked until the sixth inning, giving up two unearned runs on five hits, two walks, and five strikeouts.
Maddon turned to former St. Louis Cardinals reliever Jason Motte the very next inning, but the Padres would make him regret that decision. Solarte would fight off multiple pitches until driving an eighth pitch curve ball to deep right field, extending the visiting teams lead to 5-2.
What Stood Out:
Slowly but surely, Lester appears to be settling in despite giving up early runs. After three straight Wrigley Field starts, we’re hoping that the road will allow him to get back to his 2014 form. There’s still plenty of time for him to improve, but there are some fans questioning this signing after his first three outings of the season.
When it comes to Kris Bryant, he appears to be settling in just fine. He began his major league career with three strikeouts, then followed that up with a couple hits and three walks yesterday afternoon. Today in the series finale, Bryant did have trouble with the change-up but drilled a first-pitch fastball to center field for a double.
Just like Lester, fans are hoping to see more improvement from Bryant on the road.
The Chicago Cubs will hit the road and find themselves in Pittsburgh for a four-game set against the Pirates (6-6). Starting tomorrow nights N.L. Central division showdown will be ace Jake Arrieta.
Arrieta (1-1, 1.98 ERA) is coming off a loss to the Cincinnati Reds, in which he gave up three earned runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. Prior to Tuesday’s outing, Arrieta had allowed only three hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts and three walks. He’ll definitely have his hands full with Andrew McCutchen and that Pirates lineup.
Taking the mound for the home team is veteran A.J. Burnett. Despite a stellar outing against the Detroit Tigers, Burnett (0-1, 2.25 ERA) was handed the loss after surrendering just one earned run on seven hits with eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
Tomorrow night’s first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 pm central time, and will be aired live on both CSN+ and WBBM 780.