Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester delivers a pitch. File photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo
NEW YORK -- Jon Lester isn't ready to take up permanent residence on his couch, so extended reflection on reaching 150 career wins will have to wait. For now, it means one thing.
"I'm old," Lester said with a grin Tuesday night, when he tossed seven strong innings to became the eighth active pitcher to reach 150 wins as the Cubs routed the New York Mets, 14-3, at Citi Field.
"I don't like to talk about personal stuff -- I always try to put it off until I'm done, see where I'm at, reflect," the 33-year-old Lester said. "When it's all said and done, well go home and sit on the couch and reflect on the whole deal, see where we're at."
Eventually, Lester had to admit he liked being in a select group with Bartolo Colon, CC Sabathia, John Lackey, Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, Felix Hernandez and Jered Weaver.
"Well that's pretty cool -- I could probably name most of those guys," said Lester, who did in fact identify the other seven members of the 150-win club. "That's really good company. But at the same time, we've got a long way to go."
With three seasons plus an option remaining on his Cubs contract, manager Joe Maddon figures Tuesday night's milestone won't be the last one Lester reaches.
"He definitely has 200 within his sights," Maddon said. "Just speaks for his consistency."
Lester's 150th win was among the easiest of his career thanks to a seven-run second inning in which the Cubs scored all their runs with two outs. Lester, who entered Tuesday with a .066 career batting average, jump-started the rally with an opposite-field two-out single off Mets starter Zack Wheeler.
Albert Almora Jr. and Anthony Rizzo followed by drawing walks, with Rizzo's forcing home Willson Contreras, before Ian Happ crushed a grand slam to left field.
"Probably the one guy he had to get out was Lester," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He couldn't get him out and that changed the whole outcome of the game."
Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward singled before Addison Russell, who lined out to start the second, laced a two-run double to extend the Cubs' lead to 8-1 and finally chase Wheeler.
"A seven-run second will always help your pitcher," Lester said.
Lester (4-4) allowed one run -- in the first inning -- on five hits and one walk while striking out 10. He retired 11 in a row between the third and the seventh before stranding runners at the corners in the seventh.
"He was kind of effortless tonight," Maddon said. "He was not over-amped. He was making good pitches, really frugal. Really nicely done."
The Cubs added a run in the third, when Rizzo laced an RBI double, before scoring five more runs on a trio of homers -- a two-run shot by Heyward in the sixth, a solo blast by Bryant in the seventh and a two-run round-tripper by Javier Baez in the ninth.
Rizzo, making his first major league start out of the leadoff spot, homered on Wheeler's second pitch of the game and finished 2-for-4.
"I told the guys 'If I hit a single, I'm stealing first pitch,'" Rizzo said with a grin.
Maddon didn't hesitate when asked if Rizzo would bat leadoff in Wednesday's series finale.
"Yeah," Maddon said, dragging the word out so it was two syllables long.
Almora had three hits for the Cubs (32-32), who tied a season high for runs scored and margin of victory.
Yoenis Cespedes went 2-for-2 with an RBI double in the first for the Mets (29-34), who received back-to-back solo homers from Neil Walker and Lucas Duda in the ninth.
Wheeler (3-4) allowed a career-high eight runs on six hits and three walks while striking out three over 1 2/3 innings -- his shortest start as a big leaguer. He entered Tuesday having allowed just eight runs over his last four starts, a span of 24 1/3 innings.
"I just didn't feel it tonight," Wheeler said. "That's unfortunate. I put us in a hole early."
NOTES: The Mets placed SS Asdrubal Cabrera (left thumb) on the 10-day disabled list and recalled INF T.J. Rivera from Triple-A Las Vegas. ... Mets OF Michael Conforto (stiff back) missed a second straight game. ... Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (right hand tendinitis) experienced pain during a side session Tuesday and will not come off the disabled list Friday as the Cubs had hoped. ... Cubs LHP Jon Lester had a hit and a walk in the same game for the third time in his career.