Lester fares well in his return, but Cubs come up short to Dodgers
|Thursday, April 25, 2019, 5:52 PM- -|
CHICAGO, Ill. — Serving as a classic baseball instance of too little, too late, the Chicago Cubs (12-11) finally put a run on the board against the Los Angeles Dodgers (16-11) with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on Thursday. Albert Almora Jr. provided the Cubs with their first run of the afternoon on a solo jack to center field. However, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out the next batter, David Bote, on three straight pitches to secure a 2-1 victory for Los Angeles. With the loss, the Cubs missed out on an opportunity to sweep the Dodgers in the 3-game set at Wrigley Field.
Following an injury layoff, Jon Lester returned to the mound for the Cubs on the day and pitched five innings of 4-hit ball. Lester struck out five and gave up only one run, but, unfortunately for him, he received no run support. Chicago was 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left eight men stranded. Several scoring chances for the Cubs were squandered due to base-running blunders, such as Javier Baez getting caught stealing with two men on to end the first frame and Contreras getting tagged out in a rundown between third and home in the second inning.
The Dodgers struck first by bringing a run across in the top of the fifth. Alex Verdugo led off with triple to center off Lester and proceeded to score on the next at-bat, as Baez misplayed a grounder at shortstop and enabled Verdugo to come home. Baez was charged with an error on the play. The Dodgers tacked on an additional run as a result on a Cody Bellinger sacrifice fly in the eighth that plated Corey Seager.
Dodgers starter Ross Stripling pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings on the bump, and the Los Angeles bullpen took care of business the rest of the way. Almora's first home run of the season came on the aforementioned 399-footer off Jansen in the ninth. Jansen was not fazed, though, as he quickly struck out Bote and finished off the 2-1 triumph for the Dodgers. The Cubs gave up just four hits and three walks but were unable to manufacture enough offense to pull off the sweep.