Lester outduels Cole in Saturday action
Jon Lester allowed just one run in seven innings on Saturday, outdueling Pittsburgh Pirates ace Gerrit Cole in front of a packed house at Wrigley Field as the Chicago Cubs ran their winning streak to six games with a 4-1 win.
Chicago (21-15) is in the midst of its longest winning streak since the club won seven-straight during the 2011 season. Lester (4-2) remains undefeated in the month of May after he punched out seven and walked just one in one of his best starts of the season.
After Pittsburgh tied things up 1-1 in the top of the third on a solo home run by Sean Rodriguez, Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro drove in Kris Bryant on an RBI groundout to put his team ahead for good.
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Cole (5-2) allowed two runs in six innings of work. Chicago put together solid at-bats all afternoon-long against the Pittsburgh ace, who was aiming to be just the third pitcher in the league to hit six wins.
The Cubs got to the Pittsburgh bullpen in the seventh when Addison Russell scored on a wild pitch by Arquimedes Caminero, making it 3-1 Chicago. A deep sac fly off the bat of Anthony Rizzo accounted for the final run of the game as the Cubs’ first baseman continued his hot start with a 2-for-3 afternoon.
The most impressive aspect of Saturday’s win was the top of the eighth when, after Brian Schlitter allowed two men to reach on just five pitched, a combination of Phil Coke and Jason Motte stranded runners at second and third to preserve the Chicago lead.
Left-hander Travis Wood, who was scheduled to toss his bullpen session on Friday, came in for his first relief appearance since Sept. 2011 and nailed down his first career save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Chicago pulled off the sixth-straight win, despite going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. They were, however, aided by three Pittsburgh errors and the fact that the Pirates went just 1-for-14 in similar situations.
Castro drove in two runs for the Cubs, while Bryant, Rizzo and Jorge Soler all contributed two hits apiece in the win.