Domination: Lester pitches gem in win vs. Cardinals
|Wednesday, September 14, 2016, 4:25 PM- -|
ST. LOUIS -- In the eighth anniversary of Carlos Zambrano's no-hitter against the Astros at Miller Park, Jon Lester pitched a gem against the rival Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon in the 7-0 win at Busch Stadium. The Cubs' magic number is now only one with eighteen games to go as they have clinched at least a tie for the division, and will go for the clinching playoff berth on Thursday night at Wrigley Field against the Brewers.
Lester received the win going eight innings on 104 pitches, scattering only three hits while striking out eight batters and walking one for his major league-leading 24th quality start. He lowered his season ERA to 2.40 which is second in the National League behind only teammate Kyle Hendricks' sparkling ERA of 2.03. The two teammates are a combined 12-0 since August 1st.
If Lester's pitching wasn't enough, he started things off offensively too with a RBI single to center fielder Randal Grichuck that scored Javier Baez to put the Cubs on the board 1-0.
Grandpa Ross smacked his ninth homer of the season on a 429-foot blast to centerfield to score Jason Heyward to make it 3-0. The exit velocity on the homer was 101 MPH according to Statcast. Ross also played impressive defense on the day as he gunned down two players trying to steal.
The power display continued with Anthony Rizzo smacking a solo home run to right field for his 30th homer of the season to put the Cubs up 4-0. Rizzo is the first Cubs left-handed hitter to reach that home run milestone in three consecutive seasons. The most 30-home run seasons by a Cubs player is Billy Williams with five.
Bryant and Rizzo are the first Cubs 30-home run duo since Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee in 2005.
In the ninth inning, Kris Bryant got into the action with a RBI triple to center field to score Jorge Soler to make it 5-0. Anthony Rizzo, not to be outdone, hit his second homer on the afternoon to right field to score Kris Bryant to make it a dominating 7-0 lead over the Cardinals. Rizzo's homer traveled 404 feet and was hit 109.9 MPH according to Statcast.
Rondon pitched a successful ninth inning to combine with Lester on a three-hit shutout.