Lester pitches Cubs over Reds 1-0, Chicago maintains lead

CHICAGO (AP) After seven dominant innings from Jon Lester, the Chicago Cubs turned to a closer-by-committee due to their loss of Pedro Strop.

Lester allowed two hits over seven innings with a season-high nine strikeouts, Willson Contreras hit a run-scoring single in the sixth inning and the Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 1-0 on Saturday to maintain their NL Central lead.

Justin Wilson pitched the eighth. Jesse Chavez got the first out in the ninth and Randy Rosario retired Joey Votto on a fly to warning track in left-center. Steve Cishek retired Eugenio Suarez on a broken-bat grounder to third for his fourth save, completing a four-hitter.

''We know we're going to be matched up throughout the game, and that's what Joe likes to do,'' Cishek said. ''Everyone knows it's the ninth inning. We just try to treat it like any other inning.''

Seeking their third straight division title, opened a 2 1/2-game NL Central lead over second-place Milwaukee. Chicago has won three straight, four of five and eight straight against Cincinnati.

Lester (16-6) came out after three runs and 5 2/3 innings against the Brewers on Monday because of back tightness.

''It's doing fine,'' Lester said. ''Like I say, good drugs and good docs. We're all good.''

After a midseason slump, the 34-year-old left-hander is 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA in his last six starts.

''Jonny typically gets better when he smells it,'' manager Joe Maddon said. ''He made some really big pitches when he had to.''

Chicago announced Friday that Strop has a hamstring strain, causing him to miss the rest of the regular season.

''We needed a quality start and he went beyond that,'' Cishek said of Lester. ''Especially for us in the bullpen where we could use a little bit of rest. It was huge for us, a huge boost.''

Cody Reed allowed two hits and struck out a career-high 10 in five innings, matching his longest outing this season.

''Did what he wanted him to do,'' manager Jim Riggleman said. ''Get us to that point of the ballgame and give us a chance.''

Reed threw 91 pitches after transitioning from the bullpen. He threw 91 pitches.

''It was fun out there,'' Reed said. ''I could have kept going.''

Javier Baez led off the sixth with an infield single against Sal Romano (7-11), advanced on David Bote's groundout and scored on Contreras opposite-field single to right with two outs.

Each team had just two soft singles through five innings on an afternoon of bright sunlight and shadows that covered home plate. The lights in the 104-year-old ballpark were on when the game started shortly after 3 p.m. CDT.

''Both clubs' hitters were having a little trouble hitting, seeing with the background today,'' Riggleman said.

Cubs slugger Kris Bryant struck out swinging four times.

MORROW CLOSE

Cubs RHP Brandon Morrow, who had 22 saves in 24 chances before going on the disabled list on July 18, hopes to be activated in the next few days after throwing a 19-pitch simulated game on Saturday.

''It all depends on how I come in tomorrow,'' Morrow said. ''I expect to feel good enough. It was a successful day.''

Morrow revealed his injury was a bone bruise in his right forearm, caused by muscle overuse and a stress reaction from pitching. ''Throwing too hard,'' he quipped.

Morrow's return figures to be a big boost for the Cubs' bullpen after Strop strained his left hamstring on Thursday in Washington running to first base.

Maddon said he doesn't think he'll initially use the right-hander in a save situation. Maddon will monitor Morrow's pitch counts and doubts the reliever will be able to throw in consecutive games unless the Cubs advance deep into the postseason.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Reds: RHP Michael Lorenzen will start in place of RHP Tyler Mahle (right shoulder fatigue) on Tuesday. Mahle's status for the remainder of the season is uncertain, manager Jim Riggleman said. The 26-year old Lorenzen hasn't make a start since September 2015, at the close of his first season with the Reds and in the majors.

Cubs: Maddon said OF/IF Kyle Schwarber (back) could be cleared for pinch hitting this weekend and return to the lineup when the Cubs travel to Arizona for a three-game series starting Monday. ... Maddon also expects OF Jason Heyward (right hamstring tightness) to return during the series against the Diamondbacks.

UP NEXT

Reds RHP Luis Castillo (9-12, 4.66) is to take the mound against Cubs LHP Jose Quintana (13-9, 3.97) in the series finale on Sunday. Quintana will try for a career-high 14th win.

---

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

123456789RHE
CIN63-86
000000000040
CHC87-61
00000100X140
  • W: J. Lester (16-6)L: S. Romano (7-11)S: S. Cishek (4)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
B. Hamilton CF20000110.241.304.333.6361.5
a- S. Gennett PH10000000.320.365.502.8670.0
J. Peraza SS40200020.294.333.421.7543.0
J. Votto 1B30100102.284.421.427.8482.0
E. Suarez 3B40000014.288.371.539.911-0.5
P. Ervin LF30000012.259.335.416.751-0.5
T. Barnhart C30000000.249.335.372.7060.0
D. Herrera 2B30100020.186.278.371.6500.0
B. Dixon RF20000010.189.217.378.596-0.5
b- S. Schebler PH-RF10000011.272.347.469.816-0.5
C. Reed P10000010.000.000.000.000-0.5
c- G. Guerrero PH1000-000.125.125.125.000-
S. Romano P0000-000.059.059.088.000-
W. Peralta P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
d- C. Casali PH10000001.298.362.468.8300.0
J. Hughes P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
  • a-flied out for Hamilton in the 9th
  • b-struck out for Dixon in the 8th
  • c-flied out for Reed in the 6th
  • d-popped out for Peralta in the 8th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
A. Almora CF30000110.284.325.383.7080.5
K. Bryant RF40000041.277.379.463.841-2.0
J. Baez 2B41100011.295.329.564.8921.5
D. Bote 3B30000111.235.314.425.7390.5
A. Russell SS30100021.253.318.345.6630.0
W. Contreras C30210002.260.355.402.7573.0
V. Caratini 1B20000013.256.318.338.6560.5
A. Rizzo 1B00000000.276.371.469.8400.0
J. Lester P20000024.105.105.158.263-1.0
a- B. Zobrist PH10000000.314.386.456.8420.0
J. Wilson P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
J. Chavez P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
R. Rosario P0000-0001.0001.0001.000.000-
S. Cishek P00000000.167.167.167.3330.0
I. Happ LF30000010.231.351.413.764-0.5
  • a-flied out for Lester in the 7th
BATTING
  • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - E. Suarez 2 (2), P. Ervin, C. Casali
BATTING
  • RBI - W. Contreras (51)
  • 2-Out RBI - W. Contreras (23)
  • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - J. Baez, V. Caratini, J. Lester 4 (4)
BASERUNNING
  • SB - B. Hamilton (31), J. Peraza (23)
  • CS - B. Hamilton (10)
FIELDING
  • DP - (Bote-Baez-Caratini)
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
C. Reed5.020021004.321.4116.0
S. Romano (L, 7-11)1.02110105.431.46-4.5
W. Peralta1.00000004.641.903.0
J. Hughes1.00000201.841.024.0
PITCHERSIP
C. Reed5.0
S. Romano (L, 7-11)1.0
W. Peralta1.0
J. Hughes1.0
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
J. Lester (W, 16-6)7.02002903.431.3131.5
J. Wilson (H, 15)1.01000102.871.372.5
J. Chavez (H, 6)0.11000002.771.12-1.0
R. Rosario (H, 8)0.10000003.181.390.0
S. Cishek (S, 4)0.10000002.321.027.0
PITCHERSIP
J. Lester (W, 16-6)7.0
J. Wilson (H, 15)1.0
J. Chavez (H, 6)0.1
R. Rosario (H, 8)0.1
S. Cishek (S, 4)0.1
PITCHING
  • HBP - C. Reed
  • Pitches-Strikes - C. Reed 91-56, S. Romano 16-12, W. Peralta 13-8, J. Hughes 15-9
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C. Reed 5-0, S. Romano 1-1, W. Peralta 2-1, J. Hughes 1-0
  • Batters Faced - C. Reed 20, S. Romano 5, W. Peralta 3, J. Hughes 3
PITCHING
  • Pitches-Strikes - J. Lester 108-61, J. Wilson 12-9, J. Chavez 4-4, R. Rosario 3-2, S. Cishek 1-1
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Lester 5-5, J. Wilson 1-1, S. Cishek 1-0
  • Batters Faced - J. Lester 23, J. Wilson 4, J. Chavez 2, R. Rosario, S. Cishek
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
123456789RHE
CIN63-86
000000000040
CHC87-61
00000100X140
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
B. Hamilton CF20000110.241.304.333.6361.5
a- S. Gennett PH10000000.320.365.502.8670.0
J. Peraza SS40200020.294.333.421.7543.0
J. Votto 1B30100102.284.421.427.8482.0
E. Suarez 3B40000014.288.371.539.911-0.5
P. Ervin LF30000012.259.335.416.751-0.5
T. Barnhart C30000000.249.335.372.7060.0
D. Herrera 2B30100020.186.278.371.6500.0
B. Dixon RF20000010.189.217.378.596-0.5
b- S. Schebler PH-RF10000011.272.347.469.816-0.5
C. Reed P10000010.000.000.000.000-0.5
c- G. Guerrero PH1000-000.125.125.125.000-
S. Romano P0000-000.059.059.088.000-
W. Peralta P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
d- C. Casali PH10000001.298.362.468.8300.0
J. Hughes P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
Total29040021010-----
  • a-flied out for Hamilton in the 9th
  • b-struck out for Dixon in the 8th
  • c-flied out for Reed in the 6th
  • d-popped out for Peralta in the 8th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
A. Almora CF30000110.284.325.383.7080.5
K. Bryant RF40000041.277.379.463.841-2.0
J. Baez 2B41100011.295.329.564.8921.5
D. Bote 3B30000111.235.314.425.7390.5
A. Russell SS30100021.253.318.345.6630.0
W. Contreras C30210002.260.355.402.7573.0
V. Caratini 1B20000013.256.318.338.6560.5
A. Rizzo 1B00000000.276.371.469.8400.0
J. Lester P20000024.105.105.158.263-1.0
a- B. Zobrist PH10000000.314.386.456.8420.0
J. Wilson P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
J. Chavez P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
R. Rosario P0000-0001.0001.0001.000.000-
S. Cishek P00000000.167.167.167.3330.0
I. Happ LF30000010.231.351.413.764-0.5
Total28141021313-----
  • a-flied out for Lester in the 7th
BATTING
  • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - E. Suarez 2 (2), P. Ervin, C. Casali
BATTING
  • RBI - W. Contreras (51)
  • 2-Out RBI - W. Contreras (23)
  • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - J. Baez, V. Caratini, J. Lester 4 (4)
BASERUNNING
  • SB - B. Hamilton (31), J. Peraza (23)
  • CS - B. Hamilton (10)
FIELDING
  • DP - (Bote-Baez-Caratini)
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
C. Reed5.020021004.321.4116.0
S. Romano (L, 7-11)1.02110105.431.46-4.5
W. Peralta1.00000004.641.903.0
J. Hughes1.00000201.841.024.0
Total8.04112130---
PITCHERSIP
C. Reed5.0
S. Romano (L, 7-11)1.0
W. Peralta1.0
J. Hughes1.0
Total8.0
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
J. Lester (W, 16-6)7.02002903.431.3131.5
J. Wilson (H, 15)1.01000102.871.372.5
J. Chavez (H, 6)0.11000002.771.12-1.0
R. Rosario (H, 8)0.10000003.181.390.0
S. Cishek (S, 4)0.10000002.321.027.0
Total9.04002100---
PITCHERSIP
J. Lester (W, 16-6)7.0
J. Wilson (H, 15)1.0
J. Chavez (H, 6)0.1
R. Rosario (H, 8)0.1
S. Cishek (S, 4)0.1
Total9.0
PITCHING
  • HBP - C. Reed
  • Pitches-Strikes - C. Reed 91-56, S. Romano 16-12, W. Peralta 13-8, J. Hughes 15-9
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C. Reed 5-0, S. Romano 1-1, W. Peralta 2-1, J. Hughes 1-0
  • Batters Faced - C. Reed 20, S. Romano 5, W. Peralta 3, J. Hughes 3
PITCHING
  • Pitches-Strikes - J. Lester 108-61, J. Wilson 12-9, J. Chavez 4-4, R. Rosario 3-2, S. Cishek 1-1
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Lester 5-5, J. Wilson 1-1, S. Cishek 1-0
  • Batters Faced - J. Lester 23, J. Wilson 4, J. Chavez 2, R. Rosario, S. Cishek
  • 6TH INNING
    Contreras singled to right center, Baez scored01
  • 9TH INNING
    • Anthony Rizzo at first base
    • Jesse Chavez relieved Justin Wilson
    • Scooter Gennett hit for Billy Hamilton
    • S. Gennett: Gennett flied out to deep left
    • J. Peraza: Strike looking, Strike looking, Peraza singled to right center
    • Randy Rosario relieved Jesse Chavez
    • J. Votto: Strike looking, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Votto flied out to deep center
    • Steve Cishek relieved Randy Rosario
    • E. Suarez: Suarez grounded out to third
    • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 8TH INNING
    • Justin Wilson pitching
    • T. Barnhart: Ball, Strike looking, Barnhart grounded out to first
    • D. Herrera: Strike looking, Herrera reached on bunt single to shortstop
    • Scott Schebler hit for Brandon Dixon
    • S. Schebler: Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Schebler struck out swinging
    • Curt Casali hit for Wandy Peralta
    • C. Casali: Strike looking, Casali popped out to second
    • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • Jared Hughes pitching
    • K. Bryant: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Bryant struck out swinging
    • J. Baez: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Ball, Baez grounded out to shortstop
    • D. Bote: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Bote struck out swinging
    • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 7TH INNING
    • J. Lester Pitching:
    • J. Votto: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Votto walked
    • E. Suarez: Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Suarez struck out swinging
    • P. Ervin: Ervin grounded out to second, Votto out at second
    • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • Ben Zobrist hit for Jon Lester
    • Wandy Peralta relieved Sal Romano
    • B. Zobrist: Strike looking, Ball, Zobrist flied out to deep right
    • I. Happ: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Happ grounded out to third
    • A. Almora: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Almora grounded out to first
    • End of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 6TH INNING
    • Gabriel Guerrero hit for Cody Reed
    • G. Guerrero: Ball, Guerrero flied out to center
    • B. Hamilton: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Hamilton walked
    • J. Peraza: Strike looking, Ball, Hamilton stole second, Strike looking, Hamilton caught stealing third, catcher to third, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul tip, Peraza struck out on foul tip
    • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • Sal Romano pitching
    • J. Baez: Ball, Strike looking, Baez reached on an infield single to shortstop
    • D. Bote: Pickoff attempt, Strike looking, Strike looking, Bote grounded out to third, Baez to second
    • A. Russell: Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Russell struck out swinging
    • W. Contreras: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Contreras singled to right center, Baez scored
    • V. Caratini: Caratini flied out to left
    • End of the 6th (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 5TH INNING
    • J. Lester Pitching:
    • T. Barnhart: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Barnhart grounded out to shortstop
    • D. Herrera: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Herrera struck out swinging
    • B. Dixon: Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Dixon struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • C. Reed Pitching:
    • I. Happ: Ball, Ball, Happ grounded out to third
    • A. Almora: Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Almora struck out swinging
    • K. Bryant: Strike (foul tip), Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Bryant struck out swinging
    • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 4TH INNING
    • J. Lester Pitching:
    • J. Peraza: Ball, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Peraza struck out swinging
    • J. Votto: Votto reached on an infield single to third
    • E. Suarez: Ball, Ball, Ball, Suarez lined out to third
    • P. Ervin: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Ervin grounded out to first
    • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • C. Reed Pitching:
    • D. Bote: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Bote walked
    • A. Russell: Strike looking, Russell reached on an infield single to pitcher, Bote to second
    • W. Contreras: Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Contreras reached on fielder's choice to third, Bote out at third, Russell to second
    • V. Caratini: Foul, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Caratini struck out swinging
    • J. Lester: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Lester struck out swinging
    • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 3RD INNING
    • J. Lester Pitching:
    • B. Dixon: Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Ball, Dixon flied out to center
    • C. Reed: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Reed struck out swinging
    • B. Hamilton: Ball, Hamilton lined out to center
    • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • C. Reed Pitching:
    • I. Happ: Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Happ struck out swinging
    • A. Almora: Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Almora walked
    • K. Bryant: Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Bryant struck out swinging
    • J. Baez: Pickoff attempt, Foul, Baez grounded out to third
    • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 2ND INNING
    • J. Lester Pitching:
    • P. Ervin: Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ervin struck out swinging
    • T. Barnhart: Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Barnhart grounded out to third
    • D. Herrera: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Herrera struck out looking
    • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • C. Reed Pitching:
    • D. Bote: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Bote grounded out to first
    • A. Russell: Strike looking, Foul, Strike looking, Russell struck out looking
    • W. Contreras: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Contreras singled to left
    • V. Caratini: Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Caratini hit by pitch, Contreras to second
    • J. Lester: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Lester struck out looking
    • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 1ST INNING
    • J. Lester Pitching:
    • B. Hamilton: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Hamilton struck out swinging
    • J. Peraza: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Peraza reached on an infield single to shortstop
    • J. Votto: Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Peraza stole second, Foul, Votto grounded out to second, Peraza to third
    • E. Suarez: Strike looking, Suarez flied out to right
    • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • C. Reed Pitching:
    • A. Almora: Almora grounded out to shortstop
    • K. Bryant: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Bryant struck out swinging
    • J. Baez: Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Baez struck out looking
    • End of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)