Lester injured as Cubs come up short against Brewers

by - Senior Writer -
Cubs ace Jon Lester departed Monday's affair with lower back issues. (Photo Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports)
Cubs ace Jon Lester departed Monday's affair with lower back issues. (Photo Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — Thanks to a wild pitch, the Milwaukee Brewers (83-62) pulled to within a game of the Chicago Cubs (83-60) in the National League Central on Monday. Scoring the winning run in the top of the sixth on a wild pitch by Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr., the Brewers benefited from the departure of Cubs starter Jon Lester. Lester, who dropped to 15-6 with the losing decision, was pulled due to lower back tightness after 5.2 innings of work, and the Cubs went on to lose 3-2.

Making their return to Wrigley Field after a lengthy road trip, the Cubs were not exactly dominant at the plate in their homecoming, as they mustered just five hits. The Brewers were far more effective at the dish, as they tallied 11 total hits, including four hits from leadoff man Lorenzo Cain. Cain started the game off with a single and scored soon afterward on sacrifice fly from Jonathan Schoop.

The Cubs were fortunate to escape the top of the first trailing by just one run, as Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich got tagged out in a pickle as part of a double steal to end the half-inning and spoil Milwaukee's rally. The Cubs evened the score in the bottom of the first, when Kris Bryant hit a one-out double to left and was later scored on an RBI groundout by Anthony Rizzo.

Prior to Rizzo's grounder, Bryant reached third base as a result of throwing error on a failed pickoff attempt by Brewers starter Wade Miley. Miley went on to pitch five innings of two-run ball en route to picking up the winning decision and improving to 4-2 overall. He was put into position to earn the win by way of two Mike Moustakas runs.

In the top of the second, Moustakas scored and provided the Brewers with a 2-1 edge. He led off the frame with a double and scored on a single from Orlando Arcia. Moustakas gave the Brewers the lead again when he came home from third on the wild pitch by Edwards, putting Milwaukee ahead 3-2 in the sixth. The wild pitch came in the first at-bat following Lester's departure.

Before Chicago's disastrous top half of the sixth inning, which saw Lester suffer from back issues and Edwards struggle in relief, the Cubs made the score 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth. Willson Contreras led off with a double to deep center and was plated on a one-out sacrifice fly by Bryant. The Cubs struggled with the bats thereafter, and they came up empty-handed in a last-ditch effort in the ninth.

Contreras drew a one-out walk off Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress, and Cubs speedster Terrance Gore came in to pinch run for him. Gore was able to steal second base with ease, thereby putting himself in scoring position, but Tommy La Stella struck out swinging to conclude the contest and finalize the Cubs' 3-2 defeat. Despite leaving 20 runners stranded on base, the Brewers came away with the win to move to just one game behind the Cubs in the standings.

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