Chicago Cubs, Lester quiet the hot-hitting Braves in series opener

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 17: Jon Lester
ATLANTA, GA - JULY 17: Jon Lester /

The Chicago Cubs got a solid effort from Jon Lester, and the offense did their part as the Cubs held on to beat the Atlanta Braves with a 4-3 win at SunTrust Park.

It seemed like a different world in which the Chicago CubsJon Lester allowed 10 first inning runs in his last outing. This time he was the Lester of the second-half from 2016, allowing just one earned run in seven innings and striking out six in getting the win. The Atlanta Braves got a strong start from Julio Teheran, but a rough fifth inning gave the Cubs the lead that they never relinquished–but barely.

The Cubs (47-45) started the fifth inning with a leadoff walk from Jason Heyward. That resulted in a pressure filled fifth for Teheran (7-7, 4.69). He threw over 30 pitches in the inning, capped by a two-run single by Ben Zobrist that put the Cubs up 2-1 on the Braves (45-46). Teheran got some help from his first baseman Freddie Freeman, who made a nice snag to get Kyle Schwarber out with the bases loaded.

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Lester (6-6, 4.07) put his terrible start against the Pirates behind him and pitched a gem for the Cubs. An error by Javier Baez allowed Ender Inciarte to advance to second base. Inciarte then stole third to put himself 90 feet from the go-ahead run. A base hit from Brandon Phillips scored the run, putting the Braves up, 1-0.

Lester was in command from there, as he dominated the Braves hitters through seven innings. Anthony Rizzo added a solo home run in the seventh. A pinch-hit double from Addison Russell put the Cubs up 4-1 at that point.

When Wade Davis came in to close the game, it seemed like a done deal. The Braves are a solid team, saving the best for last. A wild pitch from Davis allowed Phillips to score. Then Matt Kemp singled to score the Braves third run, cutting it to a one run game.

With the bases loaded and two-out, it came down to the Braves Johan Camargo. With a 2-2 count, Davis forced Camargo into a pop out to left as the Cubs held on for the win.