Lester goes after fifth straight win in desert
(SportsNetwork.com) - Jon Lester goes after his fifth straight win when the Chicago Cubs open a three-game series Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Lester recorded his fourth consecutive victory in Saturday's 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates and the high-priced hurler held the visitors to a run in seven innings. Lester did allow nine hits, but struck out seven batters and walked one.
The left-hander is 4-2 with a 3.70 earned run average in eight starts with the Cubs, who are 6-2 with Lester on the hill. He is 1-0 with a 6.35 ERA in two career starts against the Diamondbacks.
Chicago has won eight of its last 10 games and took two of three meetings with the San Diego Padres, including Thursday's 3-0 verdict at Petco Park. Kyle Hendricks went the distance and scattered five hits with seven K's and no walks.
"When you pitch like that, you'll win a lot of baseball games," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "(Hendricks) was in command of himself, in command of the game. It was really fun to watch."
Kris Bryant hit a two-run home run and Addison Russell added a solo shot for the Cubs.
The D-backs recorded a four-game sweep of the Miami Marlins and posted a 7-6 victory in Thursday's finale in South Beach. Ender Inciarte collected three hits, two RBI and a run scored, while A.J. Pollock and Yasmany Tomas had two hits and an RBI apiece.
Pollock's two-out RBI infield single in the eighth was the difference.
"I was fortunate that I got it in the right spot," Pollock said. "I was just trying to bust it."
Andrew Chafin threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief and starter Archie Bradley was touched for four runs and nine hits in five innings.
Josh Collmenter gets the call for Arizona Friday and he is 3-5 with a 5.36 earned run average in eight starts. Collmenter looks to stop a personal two- game losing streak and gave up four runs in six innings of a 6-0 loss at Philadelphia on Sunday.
Collmenter has allowed 18 runs in his last three starts and is only 1-4 with a 6.84 ERA in five home starts. In six career meetings (3 starts) with the Cubs, Collmenter is 1-0 with a 1.27 ERA.
The D-backs went 5-2 against the Cubs last season.