Jon Lester Tosses Gem as Cubs Best Giants at Rainy Wrigley Field

Lester out-dueled Cueto in what would have been the Game 5 NLDS matchup in 2016

Once Jon Lester waited out the rain, it was mostly smooth sailing for the rest of the night.

Not so much for Johnny Cueto.

Lester pitched a four-hitter for Chicago's first complete game of the season, and the Cubs beat Cueto and the San Francisco Giants 4-1 on Tuesday in a rematch of last year's playoff opener.

"Jon Lester, that's classic stuff," manager Joe Maddon said. "He just kept getting better."

Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer as Chicago improved to 5-2 on its nine-game home stand. Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward also connected, helping the Cubs bounce back from their 6-4 loss to the Giants on Monday night.

Lester and Cueto hooked up in a memorable pitchers' duel in Game 1 of the NL Division Series last October, with Chicago winning 1-0 on Javier Baez's eighth-inning homer. The Cubs eliminated the Giants in four games and went on to their first World Series title in 108 years.

Lester (3-2) was sharp once again in the low-profile reunion. Cueto (4-4) was just OK, striking out eight in six innings, but surrendering Chicago's three homers.

"Long ball got him tonight," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's a little uncommon for Johnny to make mistakes like that but still. You'd like to think he could make a mistake and get away with it but he didn't tonight."

Cueto said he was bothered by blisters on his middle and index fingers. But the veteran right-hander said he wanted to take his next turn in the rotation.

"To skip a start I really have to not throw anymore," he said through an interpreter.

Brandon Crawford doubled in Buster Posey in the fifth, and that was it for the Giants. Lester retired the side in order in the ninth, getting Christian Arroyo to foul out to left on his 99th pitch for the final out.

"It's a hard thing to do now, so yeah, I mean there's always that gratification to go out there and finish it and walk off and shake everybody's hand as they come off the field," Lester said.

San Francisco dropped to 3-2 on its seven-game trip to St. Louis and Chicago. It had won eight of 10 overall.

The start of the game was delayed 65 minutes by rain. After the first four batters struck out, Schwarber drove a 3-2 pitch from Cueto over the bleachers in right and onto Sheffield Avenue for his seventh homer.

"You know when you get jammed and you know when you hit off the end and you know when you hit barrel, because you don't feel it as much," Schwarber said. "So it was a good feeling today."

Heyward added another solo shot into the basket in right in the second, and Rizzo's ninth homer made it 4-0 in the fourth.

It was more than enough for Lester, who struck out 10 and walked none in his 15th career complete game. His previous longest outing of the season was seven innings, on April 16 against Pittsburgh and May 7 against the New York Yankees.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us