Jon Lester (15-4, 2.61 ERA) had a no-hitter going into the 7th inning only to have it shattered by Hunter Pence’s home run off the end of his bat and over the left field wall. That cut the Cubs lead in half to 2-1.
Lester went on to pitch a complete-game shut-out and, outside of the Pence home run, completely dominated the Giants batters up and down the order. No Giants runner managed to make it to third base all day long.
The Chicago Cubs (87-47) did all their damage on offense in the bottom of the third inning. Back-to-back doubles by Javier Baez and David Ross drove in the first run. Dexter Fowler would single and drive in Ross and that would be all the Cubs would need today.
The Cubs win their fifth straight game by the score of 2-1 (Box Score).
Stats that matter
- Lester was filthy – 9.0IP, 1R, 3H, 2BB, 4Ks, HR, 102 pitches
- Five. The number of Cubs’ hits and walks. Not a lot of offense but enough with Lester pitching the way he did today.
- Magic number – 14
The Cubs are cruising right along and it doesn’t seem like anything is going to get in their way of clinching the National League Central soon. With the magic number at 14 games, they could conceptually win the division as early as next Friday. Of course that would mean the Cubs win seven straight and the Cardinals lose seven straight, so that’s not probable.
What is quite possible is for the Cubs to be in position to clinch the division when they play the Cardinals in St. Louis September 12-14. How sweet would that be for Cubs’ fans to be able to clinch against the Cardinals? Just maybe.
The Cubs have earned at least a series split with the Giants and will be going to for series win on Saturday at 1:20 PM CT. Jake Arrieta will take the ball for the Cubs.