Lester Superb, Cubs Fall Short in Pitcher’s Duel – Win Series 2-1

Jon Lester had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning today but couldn’t quite hold on, giving up a single and a double in the inning which scored the Pirates first run. That was it for Lester, who was excellent in the game going 6 2/3 innings, allowing a sole run on two hits.

As good as Jon Lester was, the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole was perhaps a spot better today. He lasted eight innings and held the Cubs’ red-hot batters in check, allowing only four hits. You wouldn’t have guessed Cole was going to be so good today when he gave up a lead-off double to Dexter Fowler in the bottom of the first inning but he rebounded from that and went on the hold the Cubs offense in check.

Things got interesting for the Cubs in the bottom of the ninth inning, after Mark Melancon took over for Cole. The Cubs had Fowler on third, after a walk, and Jason Heyward on first, after his single, and they were suddenly in business. After Anthony Rizzo’s sacrifice fly made it a one run game, Ben Zobrist came up with a shot to drive in the tying run. He hit a line drive to the second baseman, who was positioned deep in the hole and was able to get the final out.

Cubs fall short in this pitching battle by the score of 2-1 (box score).

Stats that mattered

  • Lester was fantastic today – 6 2/3IP, 1R, 2H, 2BB, 9Ks
  • Unfortunately, Cole was good too – 8IP, 3H, 7Ks
  • Fowler and Zobrist each had doubles but couldn’t score
  • Jung Ho Kang’s homer in the bottom of the ninth off Rondon was the difference in this game

Bottom line

The Cubs win 2-of-3 from the Pirates and walk away with their ninth series win of the year. It was June 14, 2015 before they were able to win their ninth series last season.

Cubs’ pitchers have been superb so far this year with Jon Lester becoming the 44th Cubs’ starting pitcher in a row to go at least 5 innings — going all the way back to September 27, 2015 — the longest streak for Cubs since 1910.

Next up

The Cubs have an off-day tomorrow and travel to Milwaukee on Tuesday. Kyle Hendricks will be pitching for the Cubs at 7:10 PM CDT.

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