Before the Chicago Cubs returned home to Wrigley Field, veteran southpaw Jon Lester took the mound with an opportunity to sweep the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pittsburgh threatened with the bases loaded but were unable to capitalize as Chicago completed the sweep.
When the Atlanta Braves defeated the Chicago Cubs this past Sunday, the Pittsburgh Pirates crawled within three games behind them in the National League Central. This series was a must-win for the North Siders who are off to an amazing start to the 2016 campaign.
Lester (3-1, 1.58 ERA) held the Pirates (15-13) to eight hits while issuing two walks and recording five strikeouts. And like last season, Lester fielded a ball that got caught in the webbing of his glove, forcing him to toss the entire thing over to his first baseman, Anthony Rizzo.
And in case you missed it, we had the opportunity to speak to Rizzo yesterday afternoon. Rizzo backed his starter up with his fourth double of the series and a solo home run in the top of the seventh that made it a five-run ballgame — his ninth of the season which leads the Cubs.
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Zobrist had only one hit today and it came during the top of the third. Center fielder Dexter Fowler led off the inning with a walk and moved over to second moments later. Rizzo later reached base safely on a fielding error by Andrew McCutchen.
Pirates starter, Juan Nicasio (3-3, 3.16 ERA) tossed a first-pitch fastball to Zobrist who hammered it out to right-center field for his second home run of the season. It was a three-run shot that gave the Chicago Cubs (20-6) an early lead and it was enough for Lester to pick up his third win of the year.
Javier Baez, who has flashed some serious leather throughout the series, was credited with two of Chicago’s six runs. Baez drove in Rizzo with a ground-rule double in the fifth inning and grounded into a force out that allowed Kris Bryant to cross home plate safely.