Cubs send Jon Lester to the mound to clash with the Pirates


After completing the four-game sweep over the Milwaukee Brewers and extending their winning streak to five games, the Chicago Cubs sit 10 games above .500 entering tonight’s battle with the second-place Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

First baseman Anthony Rizzo homered in fourth consecutive games while recording 10 RBI against both the Colorado Rockies and the Brewers. He finished yesterday’s series finale 0-for-4 at the plate but pushed a run across to score via a sacrifice fly.

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Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber also pitched in with a long ball of their own – Schwarber lifted one to right field this past Saturday and Russell muscled one out to center field for his seventh homer.

Hopefully, they’ll continue to swing the bats well and sharpen up their defense as Jon Lester takes the mound for game one. Lester (6-8, 3.26 ERA) turned in a beautiful performance in which he struck out 14 Rockies and held them to just two earned runs on five hits across eight innings of work to record his second win in three outings.

He’ll have his work cut out for him tonight with Francisco Liriano, Aramis Ramirez, and Andrew McCutchen. Liriano (7-6, 2.92 ERA) surrendered two runs on 10 hits in only 5 2/3 frames last Wednesday while visiting his former team, the Minnesota Twins.

Minnesota had themselves a three-run lead entering the fifth inning until Pittsburgh (61-43) came alive with two in the frame and another five in the sixth.

Prior to tonight’s game, ESPN’s Jesse Rogers tweeted that the Cubs (57-47) have designated Clayton Richard for assignment for the second time and called up outfielder Matt Szczur.

First pitch is slated for 6:05 p.m. central time and will air live on both CSN, ESPN and WBBM 780 AM.

Here’s a look at tonight’s starting lineup’s:

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