Lester disappoints as Cubs fall to Rays


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Jon Lester struggled from the start in the Cubs' loss to the Rays.
Jon Lester struggled from the start in the Cubs' loss to the Rays.

TAMPA BAY – In a game that featured the majority of its offense in the early goings, the Tampa Bay Rays ended the Chicago Cubs' seven-game win streak by way of a lopsided 8-1 win. Shellacking Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester from the start, the Rays rode a 10-hit performance. Collecting just five hits and drawing a modest four walks, the Cubs were not particularly effective at the plate on the night, thereby contributing to the blowout.

Tampa jumped out to an early, thanks to a solo shot by Steven Souza, Jr., in the opening inning, marking his 30th long ball of the season. The Rays then used small ball in the second inning to take control of the contest, scoring three runs on four singles and a walk.

Lester proceeded to completely unravel in the fourth inning, following up a one-out walk of Souza by hitting Rays third baseman Evan Longoria. During the course of the fourth frame, the uncanny issue that occasionally plagues Lester with his regard to throw to bases from the mound came to fruition, allowing Souza to steal two bases. Thereafter, Tampa Bay catcher Wilson Ramos, who went 3-4 with two RBI on the evening, drove in two runs via a single to right.

Later in the bottom half of the fourth, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras suffered a passed ball, thus enabling the Rays to take a dominant 7-0 lead. In the eighth inning, the Cubs finally got onto the scoreboard due to an RBI single from Jon Jay, who served as the designated hitter, but the Rays neutralized it on an RBI infield single from Longoria in the bottom of the ninth.

Falling 8-1, the Cubs moved to 84-67 overall. As for Lester, he received a loss, as well, becoming 11-8 overall. The loss served as the first defeat suffered by Lester in over a month. For the Rays, left-handed starter Blake Snell, who allowed just two hits in seven innings pitched, received the win, improving to 4-6 on the year.

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