Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run homer, Jon Lester pitched 7 2/3 innings and the Chicago Cubs stopped an eight-game losing streak against the New York Mets with a 5-1 victory on Monday night in a rematch of last year's NL Championship Series.
With one out and two on in the third inning, Rizzo fouled off five straight 2-2 pitches from Steven Matz before driving a changeup deep into the right-center bleachers for his 22nd homer.
The crowd of 41,353 cheered wildly as Rizzo rounded the bases on a picturesque night at Wrigley Field. The All-Star slugger is batting .339 with three homers and 10 RBIs in July.
The last time the Mets had visited the iconic neighborhood ballpark, they finished off a sweep of the Cubs to advance to the World Series. They swept Chicago again in New York from June 30 to July 3, roughing up Lester for one of the wins.
This time around was much different.
Lester (10-4) allowed one run — Wilmer Flores' leadoff homer in the seventh — and four hits in his first win in a month. David Ross added a sacrifice fly in the sixth, and Albert Almora Jr. singled in Matt Szczur in the eighth as the NL Central leaders won for the fourth time in five games since dropping five in a row.
Pedro Strop struck out Neil Walker with runners on first and second in the eighth. Hector Rondon replaced Carl Edwards Jr. with two runners on in the ninth and got Travis d'Arnaud to bounce into a game-ending double play for his 16th save.
Matz (7-6) was charged with four runs and eight hits in five-plus innings. The rookie left-hander dropped to 0-5 in his last nine starts.
Matz nearly had another run on his line, but left fielder Yoenis Cespedes cut down Willson Contreras with a perfect throw to the plate when the rookie tried to score from second on Szczur's third-inning single.