Chicago Cubs come up short in finale, split series with Cleveland

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs came out on the wrong end of a pitcher’s duel in the series finale against the Cleveland Indians as the offense fell largely flat.

Most times, when you turn in a quality start, you come away with a win. But for Jon Lester and the Chicago Cubs, that proved not to be the case on Thursday night in a tough loss to the Cleveland Indians.

Lester departed after seven innings of quality work in which he allowed three earned on just four hits. Unfortunately, three of the four hits left the yard – including a pair of long-balls in the sixth that proved to be the difference in the game.

Chicago (11-10) tallied its only run in the top of the fifth on an Anthony Rizzo RBI single that scored Ian Happ. Happ drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch from Trevor Bauer. Albert Almora drew a walk of his own and after a Javier Baez strikeout, Rizzo delivered, giving the Cubs their first – and only – lead of the night.

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The Indians answered right back in the bottom of the inning against Lester. Brandon Guyer hammered a 3-1 pitch left out over the dish deep down the left field line, tying the game at one apiece.

Cleveland (13-9) kept rolling in the sixth. Francisco Lindor and Edwin Encarnacion both sent balls into the seats, giving the Indians a 3-1 edge they never relinquished. In fact, they added an insurance run in the eighth to put the nail in the coffin.

Bauer sharp from start to finish

On the hill, Bauer was masterful. With crisp off-speed stuff all night, he limited the Cubs to just four hits and one run – striking out eight. On the year, he lowered his earned run average to a sterling 2.41.

Had some well-struck foul balls wound up on the other side of the foul pole, perhaps this one would have been different. Tommy La Stella and Jason Heyward both clobbered balls down the right field line. But, as it would happen, the balls curved into foul territory.

The Cubs threatened in their half of the eighth, but left a runner at third. With two away, Addison Russell struck out – wasting a Willson Contreras leadoff double in the process.

Just Javy bein’ Javy

There’s little I can say. Javier Baez beating out a throw from Francisco Lindor. The rest? Well, take a look for yourself.

Lester still has plenty left in the tank

With Wednesday’s effort under his belt, Jon Lester has allowed three or fewer earned runs in all but one start. Despite taking the loss, this marked his deepest start. It was also the first time this season a Chicago Cubs starting pitcher lasted seven innings.

What’s Next

Chicago welcomes the Brewers into Wrigley for a four-game weekend set. The series opener is set for Thursday night when Kyle Hendricks takes the ball for the North Siders. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. CT.