Final: Cardinals 6, #Cubs 0
Jon Lester out-hit the Cardinals through the first six innings Monday night, but he and the Cubs couldn’t hold St. Louis down. The Cardinals posted a 6-0 win over the Cubs to improve to 8-2 this season in head to head competition. The game was much closer than the score indicates as St. Louis added four runs in a sloppy ninth against Edwin Jackson.
Lester had his best outing, giving up two hits over seven innings, and striking out eight. It wasn’t good enough, and he now has lost a career-high nine straight starts. He has a 3.29 ERA in that stretch.
“He was hitting all his spots tonight and he was tough in the beginning,” St. Louis’ Kolten Wong said. “We were trying to figure out how to approach him when he was spotting up and throwing every pitch for a strike. I thought it was good toward the end that we started getting more aggressive on his fastballs and just put good at-bats together.”
The lefty even ended his 0-for-66 hitless streak with an infield single in the second inning, connecting off his former teammate and friend John Lackey.
“He doesn’t have a bad swing, he really doesn’t, technically,” manager Joe Maddon said of Lester. “He’s hit some balls really hard this year with some bad luck. Hopefully, it’s going to lead to more hits. It’s one of those quirky things. And there’s a lot of guys with a lot worse swings than he has that have gotten hits. That’s how this game plays sometimes.”
Lester called the hit “worthless” because the Cubs lost. Lackey joked that he would autograph the ball. The two were headed out for a post-game beer Monday.
The Cubs are at the halfway point of the season, and still on pace to win 88 games.
“I’m always a 90-win kind of guy,” Maddon said. “NInety plus is a nice number and we haven’t hit that real good streak yet.”
What is it about the Cardinals that makes them so tough?
“They’re a veteran team,” Lester said. “They do everything right. They make the plays when they’re in front of them. They have timely hitting. They understand it takes nine innings to win a baseball game. We’re close. We’ve got a bunch of young guys who are trying to — I don’t want to say ‘survive’ because they’re beyond that point. They’re too good to survive. When
you’re used to winning, you understand how to win. That will take some time here. The guys who have been a part of this
organization haven’t won for a long time. That’ll take some time to learn and sometimes I think nights like this get
overshadowed by the other side.”
— Carrie Muskat