Jon Lester pitches well but doesn't get run support as Cubs fall to Dodgers, 2-1

Mark Gonzales, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Baseball

CHICAGO -- Jon Lester pitched five innings of four-hit ball Thursday in his return from a left hamstring strain but suffered from a lack of run support as the Cubs fell to the Dodgers, 2-1, at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs saw their three-game winning streak snapped but avoided a shutout when Albert Almora Jr. hit a home run off closer Kenley Jansen with two out in the ninth inning.

A fielding error by shortstop Javier Baez allowed Alex Verdugo to score from third in the fifth, and bouts of wildness by relievers Randy Rosario, Brandon Kintzler and Kyle Ryan resulted in an insurance run in the eighth inning for the Dodgers.

The Cubs were 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position against Ross Stripling and four relievers as they lost for only the second time in their last nine games.

Verdugo led off the fifth with a triple off Lester. With the infield playing halfway in, Chris Taylor hit a hard grounder to short, where Baez was ready to field and throw home in anticipation of a play at the plate. But the ball scooted past Baez and allowed Verdugo to score.

Lester didn't walk a batter while striking out five in a 79-pitch performance.

The Cubs wasted three rallies against Stripling. They put runners at first and third in the first but Baez was thrown out on a steal attempt with Daniel Descalso at the plate to end the inning.

They placed runners at first and third with one out in the second, but Willson Contreras was caught in a rundown and Lester struck out.

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Kyle Schwarber ripped a double down the right-field line to open the fifth. But Mark Zagunis, hitting for Lester, struck out on a high fastball. Ben Zobrist grounded to first and Anthony Rizzo flied to right.

In the seventh, the Cubs put runners at first and second against Caleb Ferguson, but Ben Zobrist grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Cubs travel to Arizona to open a three-game series Friday night against the Diamondbacks.

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