Chicago Cubs News

Chicago Cubs complete three game sweep of the Pirates, improve to 20-6

May 4, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Ryan Vogelsong (14) and third baseman Sean Rodriguez (3) react as Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (44) rounds the bases on a solo home run during the seventh inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
May 4, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Ryan Vogelsong (14) and third baseman Sean Rodriguez (3) react as Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (44) rounds the bases on a solo home run during the seventh inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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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.

4. 6. 9. Final. 2

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.

They received fantastic outings by Jason Hammel, Jake Arrieta, and now Jon Lester.

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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Infielder Ben Zobrist started the morning out in right field with Jason Heyward and Matt Szczur battling injuries. Chicago called up Ryan Kalish before Tuesday’s contest

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.

Next: Cubs offense refuses to slow down

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.

The home team picked up both of their runs in the seventh when Matt Joyce recorded his fourth home run of the campaign. Right-hander Adam Warren was on the mound at the time.

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