Despite Lester's dominance, Cubs fall to Dodgers


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Although he earned a no decision for his efforts, Chicago Cubs ace Jon Lester was magnificent on Sunday, pitching six quality innings in which he gave up zero runs.
Although he earned a no decision for his efforts, Chicago Cubs ace Jon Lester was magnificent on Sunday, pitching six quality innings in which he gave up zero runs.

LOS ANGELES -- The Chicago Cubs were far from perfect on Sunday afternoon, falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers, in large part, due to a failure to convert with runners in scoring position and an inopportune throwing error. In the series finale of what could potentially be an NLCS preview, the Dodgers eked out a 1-0 home victory over the Cubs.

Hits were hard to come by in today’s game, with both starting pitchers pitching gems on the mound. Jon Lester of the Cubs, who has now pitched very well in seven of his last eight starts (sporting a 2.01 ERA since the All-Star break), tossed six innings of three-hit ball. Striking out six batters and allowing zero runs to score, the veteran left-hander was marvelous.

As for the Dodgers, their starter, rookie right-hander Brock Stewart, was just as impressive in his five innings on the bump, giving up only two hits and striking out eight. Stewart was able to escape a jam in which Cubs runners were on second and third with two outs in the top of the fifth, but aside from that, neither starting pitcher faced any serious scoring threats.

The Cubs were unable to capitalize on a scoring opportunity in the top of the sixth and, ultimately, paid the price for it. Chicago left fielder Kris Bryant, who was 2-3 on the day, led off the inning with a double to deep right-center that extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Thereafter, Bryant advanced to third on a groundout, and following a walk of second baseman Ben Zobrist, the Cubs were in a great position to take the lead. However, the ball failed to leave the infield for the remainder of the half inning, as shortstop Addison Russell popped out to first, and, after Chavez was relieved in favor of Grant Dayton, right fielder Jason Heyward lined out to first, thus ending the Cubs’ best chance of putting a run on the board.

The Dodgers, on the other hand, were able to convert on their best scoring chance of the game, as L.A. scored what would prove to be the winning run in the eighth inning. Despite striking out the first batter whom he faced, Cubs reliever Trevor Cahill was his own worst enemy in the bottom of the eighth, hitting the next batter and allowing runners to take second and third due to a costly throwing error soon after. An intentional walk to set up the possibility of a double play ensued, and Cahill then exited the game.

Chicago middle reliever Carl Edwards entered and garnered a strike out in the first at-bat of his outing. Edwards was unable to escape unscathed, though, as Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez brought home the game’s only run via a two-out fielder’s choice groundout to third. Pinch hitter Andrew Toles, who was hit by a pitch to spark the Los Angeles scoring opportunity, scored the winning run.

Shutdown Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen proceeded to go three up, three down in the top of the ninth to earn his 39th save of the season and seal the deal on the Dodgers’ 1-0 victory over the Cubs. Cahill (3-4) earned the loss for his ill-fated outing today, and Dodgers reliever Joe Blanton (5-2) earned the win.

Winning two of out three in the series, the Dodgers moved to 73-57 with their Sunday triumph. On the contrary, the Cubs fell to 82-47 with their Sunday defeat but still maintain a sizable 14-game lead in the National League Central.


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