Lester solid in return, but Dodgers get past Cubs 2-1

CHICAGO (AP) Although it wasn't enough to keep the Cubs rolling, Jon Lester was pleased with his first outing in more than two weeks.

The Los Angeles Dodgers spoiled the veteran left-hander's return to the rotation by scoring on an error and a sacrifice fly, beating Chicago 2-1 on Thursday to avoid a three-game sweep.

Lester (1-1), who spent 16 days on the injured list with a left hamstring strain, allowed one run on four hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked none.

''I felt fine, I felt normal,'' he said. ''It's just good to be back out there. I was tired of being in the clubhouse and not doing anything.''

Cody Bellinger drove in the Dodgers' second run with a sacrifice fly off Kyle Ryan in the eighth after Los Angeles loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter. It was Bellinger's 31st RBI of the season, tying Milwaukee's Christian Yelich for the most in the majors.

Bellinger went 1 for 2, raising his major league-leading batting average to .426.

''I just wanted to elevate the ball,'' he said of his sac fly. ''That was it. Do whatever I could to elevate the ball. Had a decent pitch to do it on, so I just tried to hit it in there.''

Pedro Baez (2-1) struck out three in 1 1/3 innings for the win. Kenley Jansen allowed Albert Almora Jr.'s homer in the ninth but got the final three outs for his eighth save.

The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the fifth. Alex Verdugo led off with a triple to center. With the infield playing in, Chris Taylor hit a routine grounder to shortstop that Javier Baez booted for an error. Verdugo easily scored once the ball scooted away.

In the bottom of the fifth, Kyle Schwarber led off with a double. Ross Stripling then struck out pinch-hitter Mark Zagunis and retired Ben Zobrist on a grounder to first base. He was lifted for Baez, who walked Kris Bryant but got Anthony Rizzo to fly out.

Stripling allowed five hits and struck out six, throwing 76 pitches in his 4 2/3 scoreless innings.

TURNAROUND

The Cubs were struggling when Lester went down on Apr. 8, but the team rebounded - it won seven of eight before Thursday - on the strength of its starting pitching. Including Lester's performance, Chicago starters have a 1.80 ERA in the last 12 games.

STOLEN CAR

Pedro Strop earned the save in the Cubs' win on Wednesday despite a trying day off the field. His car was stolen from the parking lot of the apartment building where he lives earlier in the day, but said he had no trouble focusing. The car was later recovered.

''It has nothing to do with baseball, and I just treat it like that,'' Strop said.

RUSSELL WATCH

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Addison Russell will play second base as well as shortstop during his seven-day minor league rehab assignment. Baez has been playing short during Russell's 40-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy, and the team has to decide what to do when he is activated.

''We've begun the conversation,'' Maddon said. ''We haven't concluded anything yet.''

Russell is eligible to return on May 3, but president Theo Epstein said there's no guarantee he'll be activated then.

''I told him the other day that seven days does not necessarily get somebody ready for the season,'' Epstein said. ''If you don't feel he's ready to come up here and help us win, we're gonna do the right thing for the organization.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cubs: Closer Brandon Morrow (offseason elbow surgery) was shut down over the weekend after not recovering well from a bullpen session. Although he still is undergoing tests, Epstein is optimistic the right-hander will begin throwing again soon. ''Probably not in the matter of a week or two,'' Epstein said, ''but after that point he'll get throwing again and get back on the mound.''

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-1, 3.10 ERA) pitches the opener of a three-game home series against Pittsburgh on Friday night. RHP Chris Archer (1-1, 2.74) goes for the Pirates.

Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (1-3, 3.54) starts the opener of a three-game series at Arizona on Friday night. LHP Robbie Ray (0-1, 3.95) goes for the Diamondbacks.

---

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Copyright 2019 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
LAD16-11
000010010240
CHC12-11
000000001171
  • W: P. Baez (2-1)L: J. Lester (1-1)S: K. Jansen (8)
  • HR: CHC - A. Almora (1)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
E. Hernandez 2B40000012.238.340.475.815-0.5
J. Turner 3B30000000.250.364.284.6491.0
D. Freese 1B20000000.189.333.378.7120.0
a- M. Muncy PH-1B10000110.224.322.474.7960.5
C. Bellinger RF20110100.426.500.8941.3944.0
A. Pollock CF40100034.240.299.354.653-0.5
J. Kelly P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
K. Jansen P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
A. Verdugo LF-CF41100011.345.367.6901.0563.5
C. Taylor SS-LF40000011.161.246.242.488-0.5
R. Gale C40100030.143.143.143.286-0.5
R. Stripling P20000002.100.182.100.2820.0
P. Baez P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
C. Ferguson P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
b- C. Seager PH-SS01000100.278.381.422.8032.0
  • a-struck out for Freese in the 6th
  • b-walked for Ferguson in the 8th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
B. Zobrist RF40000003.231.320.231.5510.0
R. Rosario P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
B. Kintzler P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
K. Ryan P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
K. Bryant 3B-LF20000210.232.364.366.7291.5
A. Rizzo 1B40100013.207.363.415.7770.5
J. Baez SS40200011.320.353.6491.0020.5
D. Descalso 2B40000031.290.371.419.791-1.5
W. Contreras C40100020.303.446.6521.0970.0
J. Heyward CF-RF40100010.328.440.5671.0080.5
K. Schwarber LF20100002.200.263.357.6202.0
a- A. Almora PH-CF11111000.196.274.250.5247.0
J. Lester P10000012.500.667.7501.417-0.5
b- M. Zagunis PH10000011.280.280.400.680-0.5
B. Brach P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
c- D. Bote PH-3B10000110.298.389.468.8570.5
  • a-hit by pitch for Schwarber in the 7th
  • b-struck out for Lester in the 5th
  • c-walked for Brach in the 7th
BATTING
  • 2B - C. Bellinger (6)
  • 3B - A. Verdugo (2)
  • SF - C. Bellinger (2)
  • RBI - C. Bellinger (31)
  • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - E. Hernandez, A. Pollock 4 (4), C. Taylor
BATTING
  • 2B - K. Schwarber (2)
  • HR - A. Almora
  • RBI - A. Almora (5)
  • 2-Out RBI - A. Almora (2)
  • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - A. Rizzo 2 (2), J. Baez, D. Descalso, J. Lester 2 (2)
BASERUNNING
  • CS - J. Baez
FIELDING
  • DP - (Hernandez-Muncy)
FIELDING
  • DP - (Descalso-Baez-Rizzo)
  • E - J. Baez (3)
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
R. Stripling4.25001602.651.099.0
P. Baez (W, 2-1)1.10001304.200.8710.5
C. Ferguson (H, 3)1.00001103.461.462.5
J. Kelly (H, 3)1.01000109.001.752.5
K. Jansen (S, 8)1.01110113.550.878.5
PITCHERSIP
R. Stripling4.2
P. Baez (W, 2-1)1.1
C. Ferguson (H, 3)1.0
J. Kelly (H, 3)1.0
K. Jansen (S, 8)1.0
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
J. Lester (L, 1-1)5.04110502.371.217.5
B. Brach2.00001303.381.696.5
R. Rosario0.00111006.431.86-2.0
B. Kintzler0.10000002.530.560.0
K. Ryan1.20001202.251.253.0
PITCHERSIP
J. Lester (L, 1-1)5.0
B. Brach2.0
R. Rosario0.0
B. Kintzler0.1
K. Ryan1.2
PITCHING
  • HBP - C. Ferguson (2)
  • Pitches-Strikes - R. Stripling 76-51, P. Baez 26-14, C. Ferguson 14-8, J. Kelly 18-13, K. Jansen 9-8
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - R. Stripling 6-1, C. Ferguson 1-0, J. Kelly 2-0, K. Jansen 1-1
  • Batters Faced - R. Stripling 19, P. Baez 5, C. Ferguson 4, J. Kelly 4, K. Jansen 4
PITCHING
  • HBP - B. Kintzler (2)
  • Pitches-Strikes - J. Lester 79-54, B. Brach 32-19, R. Rosario 5-0, B. Kintzler 3-1, K. Ryan 27-16
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Lester 7-3, B. Brach 2-1, B. Kintzler 1-0, K. Ryan 2-1
  • Batters Faced - J. Lester 19, B. Brach 7, R. Rosario, B. Kintzler 2, K. Ryan 6
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
123456789RHE
LAD16-11
000010010240
CHC12-11
000000001171
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
E. Hernandez 2B40000012.238.340.475.815-0.5
J. Turner 3B30000000.250.364.284.6491.0
D. Freese 1B20000000.189.333.378.7120.0
a- M. Muncy PH-1B10000110.224.322.474.7960.5
C. Bellinger RF20110100.426.500.8941.3944.0
A. Pollock CF40100034.240.299.354.653-0.5
J. Kelly P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
K. Jansen P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
A. Verdugo LF-CF41100011.345.367.6901.0563.5
C. Taylor SS-LF40000011.161.246.242.488-0.5
R. Gale C40100030.143.143.143.286-0.5
R. Stripling P20000002.100.182.100.2820.0
P. Baez P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
C. Ferguson P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
b- C. Seager PH-SS01000100.278.381.422.8032.0
Total30241031010-----
  • a-struck out for Freese in the 6th
  • b-walked for Ferguson in the 8th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
B. Zobrist RF40000003.231.320.231.5510.0
R. Rosario P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
B. Kintzler P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
K. Ryan P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
K. Bryant 3B-LF20000210.232.364.366.7291.5
A. Rizzo 1B40100013.207.363.415.7770.5
J. Baez SS40200011.320.353.6491.0020.5
D. Descalso 2B40000031.290.371.419.791-1.5
W. Contreras C40100020.303.446.6521.0970.0
J. Heyward CF-RF40100010.328.440.5671.0080.5
K. Schwarber LF20100002.200.263.357.6202.0
a- A. Almora PH-CF11111000.196.274.250.5247.0
J. Lester P10000012.500.667.7501.417-0.5
b- M. Zagunis PH10000011.280.280.400.680-0.5
B. Brach P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
c- D. Bote PH-3B10000110.298.389.468.8570.5
Total32171131213-----
  • a-hit by pitch for Schwarber in the 7th
  • b-struck out for Lester in the 5th
  • c-walked for Brach in the 7th
BATTING
  • 2B - C. Bellinger (6)
  • 3B - A. Verdugo (2)
  • SF - C. Bellinger (2)
  • RBI - C. Bellinger (31)
  • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - E. Hernandez, A. Pollock 4 (4), C. Taylor
BATTING
  • 2B - K. Schwarber (2)
  • HR - A. Almora
  • RBI - A. Almora (5)
  • 2-Out RBI - A. Almora (2)
  • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - A. Rizzo 2 (2), J. Baez, D. Descalso, J. Lester 2 (2)
BASERUNNING
  • CS - J. Baez
FIELDING
  • DP - (Hernandez-Muncy)
FIELDING
  • DP - (Descalso-Baez-Rizzo)
  • E - J. Baez (3)
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
R. Stripling4.25001602.651.099.0
P. Baez (W, 2-1)1.10001304.200.8710.5
C. Ferguson (H, 3)1.00001103.461.462.5
J. Kelly (H, 3)1.01000109.001.752.5
K. Jansen (S, 8)1.01110113.550.878.5
Total9.07113121---
PITCHERSIP
R. Stripling4.2
P. Baez (W, 2-1)1.1
C. Ferguson (H, 3)1.0
J. Kelly (H, 3)1.0
K. Jansen (S, 8)1.0
Total9.0
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
J. Lester (L, 1-1)5.04110502.371.217.5
B. Brach2.00001303.381.696.5
R. Rosario0.00111006.431.86-2.0
B. Kintzler0.10000002.530.560.0
K. Ryan1.20001202.251.253.0
Total9.04223100---
PITCHERSIP
J. Lester (L, 1-1)5.0
B. Brach2.0
R. Rosario0.0
B. Kintzler0.1
K. Ryan1.2
Total9.0
PITCHING
  • HBP - C. Ferguson (2)
  • Pitches-Strikes - R. Stripling 76-51, P. Baez 26-14, C. Ferguson 14-8, J. Kelly 18-13, K. Jansen 9-8
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - R. Stripling 6-1, C. Ferguson 1-0, J. Kelly 2-0, K. Jansen 1-1
  • Batters Faced - R. Stripling 19, P. Baez 5, C. Ferguson 4, J. Kelly 4, K. Jansen 4
PITCHING
  • HBP - B. Kintzler (2)
  • Pitches-Strikes - J. Lester 79-54, B. Brach 32-19, R. Rosario 5-0, B. Kintzler 3-1, K. Ryan 27-16
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Lester 7-3, B. Brach 2-1, B. Kintzler 1-0, K. Ryan 2-1
  • Batters Faced - J. Lester 19, B. Brach 7, R. Rosario, B. Kintzler 2, K. Ryan 6
  • 9TH INNING
    Almora homered to center21
  • 8TH INNING
    Bellinger hit sacrifice fly to center, Seager scored, Turner to third20
  • 5TH INNING
    Taylor safe at first on shortstop Baez fielding error, Verdugo scored10
  • 9TH INNING
    • K. Ryan Pitching:
    • A. Verdugo: Strike looking, Verdugo grounded out to second
    • C. Taylor: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Taylor grounded out to third
    • R. Gale: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Gale struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • Kenley Jansen relieved Joe Kelly
    • W. Contreras: Foul, Foul, Contreras grounded out to shortstop
    • J. Heyward: Heyward lined out to left
    • A. Almora: Ball, Almora homered to center
    • D. Bote: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Bote struck out swinging
    • End of the 9th (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 8TH INNING
    • Randy Rosario pitching
    • Corey Seager hit for Caleb Ferguson
    • C. Seager: Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Seager walked
    • E. Hernandez: Ball
    • Hernandez grounded out to second, Seager to second
    • J. Turner: Ball, Ball, Turner hit by pitch
    • Kyle Ryan relieved Brandon Kintzler
    • M. Muncy: Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Muncy walked, Seager to third, Turner to second
    • C. Bellinger: Bellinger hit sacrifice fly to center, Seager scored, Turner to third
    • A. Pollock: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Pollock struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 8th (1 Run, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • Joe Kelly pitching
    • Corey Seager at shortstop
    • K. Bryant: Strike looking, Ball, Strike (foul tip), Foul, Bryant grounded out to third
    • A. Rizzo: Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Rizzo grounded out to first
    • J. Baez: Foul, Baez singled to deep right center
    • D. Descalso: Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Foul tip, Descalso struck out on foul tip
    • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 1 Error)
  • 7TH INNING
    • B. Brach Pitching:
    • A. Verdugo: Strike looking, Ball, Verdugo flied out to deep center
    • C. Taylor: Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Taylor lined out to pitcher
    • R. Gale: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Gale struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • Caleb Ferguson relieved Pedro Baez
    • J. Heyward: Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Heyward struck out swinging
    • Albert Almora hit for Kyle Schwarber
    • A. Almora: Ball, Almora hit by pitch
    • David Bote hit for Brad Brach
    • D. Bote: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Bote walked, Almora to second
    • B. Zobrist: Strike looking, Zobrist grounded into double play second to first, Bote out at second
    • End of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 6TH INNING
    • Brad Brach pitching
    • J. Turner: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Turner grounded out to shortstop
    • Max Muncy hit for David Freese
    • M. Muncy: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Muncy struck out swinging
    • C. Bellinger: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Bellinger walked
    • A. Pollock: Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Pollock struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • P. Baez Pitching:
    • J. Baez: Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul tip, Baez struck out on foul tip
    • D. Descalso: Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Descalso struck out swinging
    • W. Contreras: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Contreras struck out swinging
    • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 5TH INNING
    • J. Lester Pitching:
    • A. Verdugo: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Verdugo tripled to deep center
    • C. Taylor: Strike swinging, Ball, Taylor safe at first on shortstop Baez fielding error, Verdugo scored
    • R. Gale: Gale singled to right, Taylor to second
    • R. Stripling: Foul, Stripling grounded into double play second to shortstop to first, Taylor to third, Gale out at second
    • E. Hernandez: Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Hernandez grounded out to second
    • Middle of the 5th (1 Run, 2 Hits, 1 Error)
    • R. Stripling Pitching:
    • K. Schwarber: Foul, Ball, Schwarber doubled to deep right
    • Mark Zagunis hit for Jon Lester
    • M. Zagunis: Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Zagunis struck out swinging
    • B. Zobrist: Ball, Strike swinging, Zobrist grounded out to first, Schwarber to third
    • Pedro Baez relieved Ross Stripling
    • K. Bryant: Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Bryant walked
    • A. Rizzo: Ball, Strike swinging, Rizzo flied out to deep right
    • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 4TH INNING
    • J. Lester Pitching:
    • J. Turner: Strike looking, Strike looking, Turner lined out to left
    • D. Freese: Ball, Foul, Freese grounded out to third
    • C. Bellinger: Ball, Strike looking, Bellinger doubled to deep right
    • A. Pollock: Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Pollock struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • R. Stripling Pitching:
    • D. Descalso: Ball, Strike swinging, Descalso grounded out to first
    • W. Contreras: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Contreras struck out looking
    • J. Heyward: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Heyward grounded out to third
    • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 3RD INNING
    • J. Lester Pitching:
    • R. Gale: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Gale struck out swinging
    • R. Stripling: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Stripling grounded out to second
    • E. Hernandez: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Hernandez grounded out to shortstop
    • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • R. Stripling Pitching:
    • B. Zobrist: Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Zobrist grounded out to pitcher
    • K. Bryant: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Bryant walked
    • A. Rizzo: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Rizzo struck out swinging
    • J. Baez: Baez grounded out to pitcher
    • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 2ND INNING
    • J. Lester Pitching:
    • C. Bellinger: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Bellinger grounded out to shortstop
    • A. Pollock: Pollock singled to deep right center
    • A. Verdugo: Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Verdugo struck out looking
    • C. Taylor: Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Taylor struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • R. Stripling Pitching:
    • D. Descalso: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Descalso struck out swinging
    • W. Contreras: Strike looking, Contreras reached on an infield single to shortstop
    • J. Heyward: Heyward singled to left center, Contreras to third
    • K. Schwarber: Ball, Foul, Pickoff attempt to first, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Schwarber reached on fielder's choice to pitcher, Contreras out at home, Heyward to second
    • J. Lester: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Lester struck out swinging
    • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 1ST INNING
    • J. Lester Pitching:
    • E. Hernandez: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Hernandez struck out looking
    • J. Turner: Foul, Turner flied out to deep center
    • D. Freese: Ball, Ball, Ball, Freese flied out to right
    • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • R. Stripling Pitching:
    • B. Zobrist: Strike looking, Strike looking, Zobrist flied out to center
    • K. Bryant: Strike swinging, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Bryant struck out swinging
    • A. Rizzo: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Rizzo singled to left
    • J. Baez: Strike swinging, Baez singled to deep right, Rizzo to third
    • D. Descalso: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Baez caught stealing second, catcher to shortstop
    • End of the 1st (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)