Chicago Cubs' Jon Lester beats San Diego Padres for 14th win

By Bill Center, The Sports Xchange
National League All-Star pitcher Jon Lester, of the Chicago Cubs. Photo by Howard Shen/UPI
National League All-Star pitcher Jon Lester, of the Chicago Cubs. Photo by Howard Shen/UPI | License Photo

SAN DIEGO -- Jon Lester picked up his 14th win of the season Monday night as the Chicago Cubs rebounded from a series loss in Colorado to defeat the Padres 5-1 at Petco Park -- or Wrigley Field West from the sound of the 31,707 fans on hand.

But rather than discuss his efforts after the game, Lester wanted to talk about Jason Heyward, who hit one of the two homers that accounted for four of the Cubs' five runs.


"I don't know how many guys are in the dugout or in the bullpen or wherever," said Lester. "But everyone is cheering their butt off for Jason.

"We know how important he is to this team, not only offensively but in other areas. There's not a more professional guy that I've been around than him. That dugout was more than ecstatic for him to make that good swing."


After Addison Russell and Kris Bryant hit solo homers for the Cubs, Heyward barely reached the seats in right with a two-run homer off former Cub Edwin Jackson to cap a three-run inning to make it 5-3.

Heyward returned to the lineup Monday night after being given a four-game "rest break" after his average dropped to .225.

"It's great for Jason to be able to do that," said Cubs manager Joe Maddon. "Those are the kinds of things that can get his confidence going again, and going in the right direction."

Lester wasn't bad, either.

The left-hander took a shutout into the seventh inning and improved to 14-4 with his second win over the Padres this season. He held the Padres scoreless on three hits over six innings before giving up two straight hits opening the seventh that resulted in the Padres' run. Lester's official line was one run allowed on five hits and two walks with eight strikeouts over six-plus innings.

"Overall, game after game you know what to expect from Jon," said Maddon. "He had really good stuff tonight."


"I just try to pitch and do a good job," said Lester. "That's all I worry about. I don't care about what's being said or looked at. I don't care about numbers. I don't really like quality starts. The main number for me is always 200 innings."

In addition to the three homers, former Padre Anthony Rizzo had a four-hit game for the Cubs.

The Cubs teed off on former teammate and Padres starter and loser Edwin Jackson (3-4) for three home runs and five runs in five innings.

Shortstop Russell homered in the second for the game's first run, driving a 1-1 offering from Jackson 396 feet into the stands in left center. Russell also drove in the Cubs second run an inning later with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly that scored Dexter Fowler, who had walked to lead off the inning.

San Diego got a double dose of distasteful "home" cooking in the top of the fifth.

Bryant, who attended the University of San Diego, opened the inning with his 32nd home run of the season -- a 394-foot drive into the same second earlier penetrated by Russell.

Rizzo, who was traded by the Padres to the Cubs in 2012 for since-departed pitcher Andrew Cashner, followed with a double rocketed to left. Jackson retired the next two hitters. But slumping Heyward hit a 365-foot drive to right that just eluded the glove of right fielder Patrick Kivlehan for a two-run homer. The ball landed on top of the wall just beyond Kivlehan's glove.


Jackson departed after five innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and four walks.

"I put myself in a couple jams with the count and gave up the home runs," said Jackson. "The two-run homer by Heyward really put a damper on things. You have to establish the strike zone early against these guys. You fall behind in the count against this team and you are in trouble. I was in trouble."

"I thought Edwin made one bad pitch to Heyward," said Padres manager Andy Green. "One pitch took it from being a respectable outing."

Meanwhile, knowing that they might not get a lot of hits off Lester, the Padres tried to produce offense with their running game. That didn't work, either.

Travis Jankowski singled to open the game to reach base in a 21st straight game. He stole second, but was out trying to steal third with one out. Two innings later, Wil Myers was also thrown out trying to steal third.

The Padres' first real threat against Lester came in the sixth when Brett Wallace reached third on a single to right and a two-base error by Heyward. But Lester struck out Jankowski and Myers around a walk to Alexei Ramirez.


When Alex Dickerson and Christian Bethancourt opened the seventh with back-to-back singles, Lester departed in favor of right-handed reliever Justin Grimm.

The Padres got on the board after the both runners moved up on a grounder to third by Kivlehan.

Grimm's strike three pitch to pinch-hitter Ryan Schimpf bounced away from catcher David Ross, allowing Schimpf to reach first and Dickerson to score from third, ending the shutout bid. Grimm then struck out Sardinas and Wallace to end the rally.

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