With home field advantage practically in their grasp, the Chicago Cubs kept their run train going. Yesterday, they launched multiple late homers to take the series opener over the Reds. They managed to score runs while keeping the ball in the park.
The number to clinch home-field advantage for the National League playoffs is now down to three after tonight’s win. Joe Maddon‘s boys love hitting against the Cincinnati Reds and that’s exactly what they did in game two of this series.
Also, veteran southpaw Jon Lester was absolutely dealing on the mound. Not to mention, he helped out his own cause by ripping a double out to left center. A hit that had an exit velocity of 107 miles per hour.
What’s going on with Lester? At first, Jon struggled to get a hit in his first year with the Chicago Cubs. This time around, he has managed to put together a few base knocks while driving in runs in the process.
His longtime teammate and best friend, David Ross, rounded the bases on his RBI double and slide chest first into home plate. Outfielder Dexter Fowler had a smile on his face when Ross made his way to the dugout.
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Lester (18-4, 2.36 ERA) as mentioned before, was fabulous on the mound. Through seven innings of work, he held Cincinnati (63-88) to one earned run on six hits. In addition, Jon struck out five batters while not issuing a walk.
He did, however, suffer a scary moment when he was hit in the glove hand by a ball that was smacked right back at the mound. At first, Jon tossed his glove to the side, knelt down and favored his hand.
After taking a second, Jon remained in the game until he was replaced by reliever Carl Edwards Jr. who worked a scoreless eighth. Edwards surrendered one hit and ended the frame by striking out Scott Schebler.
Now, it’s time for us to look at tonight’s offensive production by the Cubs (96-55), mainly first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo ended the evening 2-for-5 with three RBI coming in fourth and sixth innings.
Anthony’s first RBI knock of the day drove in Kris Bryant from second. Bryant made it a 3-0 game with his 35th double of the year that knocked in Lester. Kris went 3-for-5 after going hitless in the series opener.
Cincinnati’s only run came on a triple off the bat of Jose Peraza (2) out to Fowler, scoring Steve Selsky with Lester on the bump. Thus ending the shutout. But Chicago’s pitching did just enough to shut down the Reds from fighting back.
Trevor Cahill kicked off the ninth inning, setting up a double play before being replaced by southpaw Travis Wood. Wood, the former Red, got Eugenio Saurez to ground out to Russell for the third and final out.
The Chicago Cubs will go for the sweep tomorrow night before Thursday’s off day.