(SportsNetwork.com) - Jon Lester eyes a third straight winning start for the Chicago Cubs on Monday evening in the first of four straight meetings with the New York Mets.
Chicago's big offseason acquisition was 0-2 with a 6.23 earned run average through his first four starts before blanking Milwaukee over seven innings of a 1-0 win on May 1. The left-hander then faced St. Louis five days later and picked up a 6-5 win, charged with four runs over seven innings. Three of those were unearned, however, and he worked around seven hits and two walks to lower his ERA to 4.04.
Lester, 31, beat the Mets the only other time he faced them, giving up two runs over five innings despite four hits and five walks back in 2006 as a rookie.
The Cubs have lost seven of their past nine and were outlasted 3-2 in 11 innings on Sunday versus the Milwaukee Brewers. Jason Motte was unable to extend the game, giving up a walk-off single to the Brewers' Martin Maldonado.
Miguel Montero homered and Anthony Rizzo supplied two hits and an RBI for the Cubs, who saw starter Kyle Hendricks toss 5 1/3 scoreless frames and give up five hits with three strikeouts.
The Mets' Jacob deGrom will try to move back above .500 tonight following a solid effort in a 5-1 victory last Wednesday.
After giving up 11 runs -- nine earned -- over consecutive losses, deGrom held the Baltimore Orioles to only one run on six hits and a walk in seven innings of work. He struck out a season-high nine batters as well, moving to 3-3 with a 2.95 ERA this season.
"We played a good game tonight, all the way around," deGrom said.
The right-handed deGrom will face the Cubs for the second time in his career tonight. He did not get a decision against them the first time, but allowed four runs on five hits and three walks over five innings.
The Mets took the rubber match of their three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies 7-4 on Sunday. Curtis Granderson hit a go-ahead two-run homer and Johnny Monell added a two-run double to the victory.
Bartolo Colon allowed four runs on eight hits in six-plus innings, striking out six to record his sixth victory of the season. Four different relievers combined to allow one hit for the remainder of the contest, with Jeurys Familia tossing a scoreless ninth to earn his 13th save.
"It's really special because it is Mother's Day," Colon said in mentioning his mother, Adriana, who died last summer. "I just want to dedicate this to all the mothers that are not here and are in a better place. Just happy that it happened today."
Daniel Murphy contributed three hits, while Wilmer Flores and Kirk Nieuwenhuis knocked in a run each in the Mets' fourth victory in five games.
The Cubs won five of seven versus the Mets last season, sweeping a three-game set at home.