Lester, bullpen combine on 1-hitter, Cubs beat Pirates 2-0

CHICAGO (AP) Jon Lester sees the Chicago Cubs delivering enough big hits and sparkling plays in the field.

More than anything, he sees his team piling up victories. And to him, it's starting to feel like the 2016 championship season all over again.

Lester combined with two relievers on a one-hitter, and the Cubs took advantage of a first-inning slip by center fielder Starling Marte in a 2-0 victory Saturday over the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago's 11th win in 13 games.

''I think it took everybody a little bit last year to recover and get back to normal,'' Lester said. ''When you come off that high of Game 7, you're looking for that high, you're trying to get up for every game, and it's just not there. I think it took us a while for that. This year, I feel like everybody just came in with a different mentality.''

Lester (7-2) allowed a two-out triple in the third to Austin Meadows, then retired Marte on a groundout. The left-hander struck out five and walked two in seven innings, improving to 5-1 in his past six starts.

Justin Wilson worked a perfect eighth, Steve Cishek retired all three batters in the ninth for his second save and the Cubs remained a half-game behind NL Central-leading Milwaukee.

Nick Kingham (2-3) allowed both runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings. Pittsburgh lost for the sixth time in seven games and has dropped seven straight series. The Pirates are 5-16 following a 26-17 start.

Kris Bryant led off for the second straight day and was hit by Kingham's second pitch. The game turned on Kingham's next offering, when Marte settled under Jason Heyward's fly but fell as the ball bounced to the wall. That put runners on second and third, and when Ben Zobrist followed with an RBI groundout and Anthony Rizzo a sacrifice fly , the Cubs had a two-run lead after just six pitches by Kingham.

Manager Clint Hurdle defended Marte's decision to call off left fielder Austin Meadows.

''You're a center fielder,'' Hurdle said. ''You've won a Gold Glove. I think you call the ball if you think you can get to the ball.''

Bryant was 0 for 2 with an intentional walk after getting three hits Friday in his debut as a leadoff hitter.

Pittsburgh was without second baseman and leadoff hitter Josh Harrison, absent because of a personal matter, according to Hurdle.

Catcher Francisco Cervelli was struck on the mask and left side of his jaw by Heyward's foul ball in the third inning, then was replaced by Elias Diaz for the bottom of the fourth.

FLASHY FINISH

Chicago's Javier Baez entered in the ninth, and the second baseman ended the game with a neat grab.

He raced down the right-field line to snag Marte's foul, his momentum causing him to lean into the seats after he made the catch.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Pirates: Hurdle said RHP Ivan Nova (sprained ligament in right ring finger) is expected to come off the DL and start Sunday. ... RHP Richard Rodriquez (right shoulder inflammation) said through an interpreter his injury is ''nothing severe'' and he expects to return when he is eligible to come off the DL on June 17. ... Cervelli was being monitored for concussion symptoms, Pirates director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said.

Cubs: Manager Joe Maddon said the Cubs will probably have ''a pretty good idea of where we're at'' by the end of the upcoming week with RHP Yu Darvish (right triceps tendinitis). Maddon said the pain is subsiding, but wasn't sure when he will start throwing off the mound. He said Darvish will likely go on a rehab assignment before rejoining the rotation. ... SS Addison Russell was back in the lineup after being held out of it the previous four games because of a bruised left middle finger, though he did enter late in Friday's win.

UP NEXT

Pirates: Nova (2-5, 4.96 ERA) has not pitched since May 24. 0-4 in his past seven starts.

Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-5, 3.59) looks to bounce back after giving up a season-high five runs in a loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday.

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Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
PIT31-33
000000000010
CHC37-24
20000000X260
  • W: J. Lester (7-2)L: N. Kingham (2-3)S: S. Cishek (2)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
J. Mercer SS40000010.250.312.378.689-0.5
A. Meadows LF40100010.368.397.6911.0882.5
S. Marte CF40000001.280.338.454.7920.0
F. Cervelli C20000000.266.387.519.9060.0
E. Diaz C10000000.284.333.473.8060.0
D. Freese 3B-1B20000100.247.318.412.7311.0
J. Bell 1B20000110.233.307.366.6730.5
S. Brault P0000-000.250.250.333.000-
K. Crick P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
G. Polanco RF30000022.204.305.408.713-1.0
S. Rodriguez 2B30000022.162.279.305.583-1.0
N. Kingham P20000000.000.167.000.1670.0
C. Moran 3B10000010.277.359.422.781-0.5
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    K. Bryant 3B21000112.298.408.509.9172.5
    J. Heyward RF41100002.267.330.404.7333.0
    B. Zobrist 2B-LF40110001.292.378.435.8132.0
    A. Rizzo 1B30010001.245.342.435.7771.0
    W. Contreras C40100011.281.372.453.8250.5
    K. Schwarber LF20000110.253.379.500.8790.5
    A. Almora CF10100000.318.372.441.8142.0
    I. Happ CF-LF20100200.231.358.456.8143.0
    S. Cishek P00000000.500.500.5001.0000.0
    A. Russell SS40100016.272.345.375.7200.5
    J. Lester P20000013.143.143.143.286-0.5
    a- T. La Stella PH10000011.320.393.347.740-0.5
    J. Wilson P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
    J. Baez 2B00000000.254.284.531.8150.0
    • a-struck out for Lester in the 7th
    BATTING
    • 3B - A. Meadows (2)
    BATTING
    • 2B - J. Heyward (7), A. Almora (14)
    • SF - A. Rizzo (5)
    • RBI - B. Zobrist (24), A. Rizzo (44)
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    N. Kingham (L, 2-3)6.14222503.820.9910.5
    S. Brault1.11001104.471.321.5
    K. Crick0.11001002.611.45-2.0
    PITCHERSIP
    N. Kingham (L, 2-3)6.1
    S. Brault1.1
    K. Crick0.1
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    J. Lester (W, 7-2)7.01002502.221.0930.5
    J. Wilson (H, 5)1.00000202.361.354.0
    S. Cishek (S, 2)1.00000101.881.0110.5
    PITCHERSIP
    J. Lester (W, 7-2)7.0
    J. Wilson (H, 5)1.0
    S. Cishek (S, 2)1.0
    PITCHING
    • WP - S. Brault (6)
    • IBB - S. Brault (3), K. Crick (3)
    • HBP - N. Kingham (2)
    • Pitches-Strikes - N. Kingham 99-65, S. Brault 15-8, K. Crick 5-4
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - N. Kingham 4-10, S. Brault 3-0
    • Batters Faced - N. Kingham 26, S. Brault 6, K. Crick 3
    PITCHING
    • Pitches-Strikes - J. Lester 104-65, J. Wilson 15-12, S. Cishek 17-12
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Lester 9-7, J. Wilson 1-0, S. Cishek 1-1
    • Batters Faced - J. Lester 24, J. Wilson 3, S. Cishek 3
    PLAYERS OF THE GAME
    123456789RHE
    PIT31-33
    000000000010
    CHC37-24
    20000000X260
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    J. Mercer SS40000010.250.312.378.689-0.5
    A. Meadows LF40100010.368.397.6911.0882.5
    S. Marte CF40000001.280.338.454.7920.0
    F. Cervelli C20000000.266.387.519.9060.0
    E. Diaz C10000000.284.333.473.8060.0
    D. Freese 3B-1B20000100.247.318.412.7311.0
    J. Bell 1B20000110.233.307.366.6730.5
    S. Brault P0000-000.250.250.333.000-
    K. Crick P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
    G. Polanco RF30000022.204.305.408.713-1.0
    S. Rodriguez 2B30000022.162.279.305.583-1.0
    N. Kingham P20000000.000.167.000.1670.0
    C. Moran 3B10000010.277.359.422.781-0.5
    Total280100285-----
      HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
      K. Bryant 3B21000112.298.408.509.9172.5
      J. Heyward RF41100002.267.330.404.7333.0
      B. Zobrist 2B-LF40110001.292.378.435.8132.0
      A. Rizzo 1B30010001.245.342.435.7771.0
      W. Contreras C40100011.281.372.453.8250.5
      K. Schwarber LF20000110.253.379.500.8790.5
      A. Almora CF10100000.318.372.441.8142.0
      I. Happ CF-LF20100200.231.358.456.8143.0
      S. Cishek P00000000.500.500.5001.0000.0
      A. Russell SS40100016.272.345.375.7200.5
      J. Lester P20000013.143.143.143.286-0.5
      a- T. La Stella PH10000011.320.393.347.740-0.5
      J. Wilson P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
      J. Baez 2B00000000.254.284.531.8150.0
      Total2926204617-----
      • a-struck out for Lester in the 7th
      BATTING
      • 3B - A. Meadows (2)
      BATTING
      • 2B - J. Heyward (7), A. Almora (14)
      • SF - A. Rizzo (5)
      • RBI - B. Zobrist (24), A. Rizzo (44)
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      N. Kingham (L, 2-3)6.14222503.820.9910.5
      S. Brault1.11001104.471.321.5
      K. Crick0.11001002.611.45-2.0
      Total8.0622460---
      PITCHERSIP
      N. Kingham (L, 2-3)6.1
      S. Brault1.1
      K. Crick0.1
      Total8.0
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      J. Lester (W, 7-2)7.01002502.221.0930.5
      J. Wilson (H, 5)1.00000202.361.354.0
      S. Cishek (S, 2)1.00000101.881.0110.5
      Total9.0100280---
      PITCHERSIP
      J. Lester (W, 7-2)7.0
      J. Wilson (H, 5)1.0
      S. Cishek (S, 2)1.0
      Total9.0
      PITCHING
      • WP - S. Brault (6)
      • IBB - S. Brault (3), K. Crick (3)
      • HBP - N. Kingham (2)
      • Pitches-Strikes - N. Kingham 99-65, S. Brault 15-8, K. Crick 5-4
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - N. Kingham 4-10, S. Brault 3-0
      • Batters Faced - N. Kingham 26, S. Brault 6, K. Crick 3
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - J. Lester 104-65, J. Wilson 15-12, S. Cishek 17-12
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Lester 9-7, J. Wilson 1-0, S. Cishek 1-1
      • Batters Faced - J. Lester 24, J. Wilson 3, S. Cishek 3
      • 1ST INNING
        Rizzo hit sacrifice fly to right, Heyward scored02
        Zobrist grounded out to first, Bryant scored, Heyward to third01
      • 9TH INNING
        • Steve Cishek pitching
        • Javier Baez at second base
        • J. Mercer: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Mercer grounded out to shortstop
        • A. Meadows: Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul tip, Meadows struck out on foul tip
        • S. Marte: Strike swinging, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Marte fouled out to second
        • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 8TH INNING
        • Justin Wilson pitching
        • Albert Almora in center field
        • G. Polanco: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Foul, Polanco grounded out to second
        • S. Rodriguez: Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Rodriguez struck out looking
        • C. Moran: Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Moran struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • S. Brault Pitching:
        • B. Zobrist: Zobrist grounded out to shortstop
        • A. Rizzo: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Rizzo grounded out to first
        • W. Contreras: Ball, Contreras reached on an infield single to shortstop
        • Kyle Crick relieved Steven Brault
        • A. Almora: Strike looking, Ball, Almora doubled to shallow left, Contreras to third
        • I. Happ: Happ intentionally walked
        • A. Russell: Strike swinging, Russell popped out to second
        • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 7TH INNING
        • J. Lester Pitching:
        • E. Diaz: Ball, Strike looking, Diaz grounded out to third
        • D. Freese: Freese grounded out to shortstop
        • J. Bell: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Bell lined out to right
        • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • N. Kingham Pitching:
        • I. Happ: Happ flied out to deep left
        • A. Russell: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Russell singled to shallow center
        • Tommy La Stella hit for Jon Lester
        • Steven Brault pitching
        • Colin Moran at third base
        • T. La Stella: Strike looking, Ball, Russell to second on wild pitch, Foul, Strike swinging, La Stella struck out swinging
        • K. Bryant: Bryant intentionally walked
        • J. Heyward: Ball, Ball, Heyward grounded out to first
        • End of the 7th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 6TH INNING
        • J. Lester Pitching:
        • J. Mercer: Mercer flied out to center
        • A. Meadows: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Meadows popped out to third
        • S. Marte: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Marte grounded out to second
        • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • N. Kingham Pitching:
        • A. Rizzo: Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike looking, Rizzo grounded out to second
        • W. Contreras: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Contreras flied out to center
        • K. Schwarber: Schwarber flied out to deep center
        • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 5TH INNING
        • J. Lester Pitching:
        • G. Polanco: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Polanco struck out swinging
        • S. Rodriguez: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Rodriguez lined out to right
        • N. Kingham: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Kingham grounded out to pitcher
        • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • N. Kingham Pitching:
        • K. Bryant: Ball, Bryant flied out to right
        • J. Heyward: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Heyward lined out to center
        • B. Zobrist: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Zobrist flied out to center
        • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 4TH INNING
        • J. Lester Pitching:
        • F. Cervelli: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Cervelli grounded out to third
        • D. Freese: Freese lined out to center
        • J. Bell: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Bell struck out looking
        • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • Elias Diaz catching
        • K. Schwarber: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Schwarber struck out looking
        • I. Happ: Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Happ singled to shallow right
        • A. Russell: Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Russell flied out to center
        • J. Lester: Ball, Foul, Ball, Lester flied out to left
        • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 3RD INNING
        • J. Lester Pitching:
        • N. Kingham: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Kingham grounded out to shortstop
        • J. Mercer: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Mercer grounded out to second
        • A. Meadows: Ball, Ball, Meadows tripled to deep right
        • S. Marte: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Foul, Marte grounded out to third
        • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • N. Kingham Pitching:
        • J. Heyward: Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Heyward grounded out to shortstop
        • B. Zobrist: Foul, Strike swinging, Zobrist singled to left center
        • A. Rizzo: Foul, Rizzo flied out to deep right
        • W. Contreras: Pickoff attempt, Contreras grounded out to third
        • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 2ND INNING
        • J. Lester Pitching:
        • F. Cervelli: Cervelli flied out to deep left
        • D. Freese: Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Freese walked
        • J. Bell: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Bell walked, Freese to second
        • G. Polanco: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Polanco struck out swinging
        • S. Rodriguez: Strike swinging, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Rodriguez struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • N. Kingham Pitching:
        • K. Schwarber: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Schwarber walked
        • I. Happ: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Ball, Happ walked, Schwarber to second
        • A. Russell: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Russell struck out swinging
        • J. Lester: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Lester struck out swinging
        • K. Bryant: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Foul, Strike looking, Bryant struck out looking
        • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 1ST INNING
        • J. Lester Pitching:
        • J. Mercer: Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Mercer struck out swinging
        • A. Meadows: Strike looking, Meadows grounded out to first
        • S. Marte: Ball, Foul, Marte lined out to left
        • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • N. Kingham Pitching:
        • K. Bryant: Strike looking, Ball, Bryant hit by pitch
        • J. Heyward: Heyward doubled to left center, Bryant to third
        • B. Zobrist: Zobrist grounded out to first, Bryant scored, Heyward to third
        • A. Rizzo: Strike looking, Rizzo hit sacrifice fly to right, Heyward scored
        • W. Contreras: Strike looking, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Contreras struck out swinging
        • End of the 1st (2 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)