CHICAGO — Jon Lester may be having the best season of his career and the timing couldn’t have been better for the Chicago Cubs.
While the starting rotation has experienced its share of issues and the Cubs have struggled to find consistency http://www.lionscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-matthew-stafford-jersey , Lester has been more than steady. Lester takes a 10-2 mark into his 17th start of the season Sunday when the Cubs attempt to finish off a three-game sweep of the Minnesta Twins at Wrigley Field.
Lester has won six straight starts and allowed four runs in his five starts in June, which bodes well for a team that won its third straight game after Saturday’s 14-9 back-and-forth victory over the Twins.
Lester threw 119 pitches — a sign that at age 34 he has plenty of good work left in him — two starts back. He had thrown 106 pitches in six innings when manager Joe Maddon elected to keep Lester on the mound.
“At that point, what’s 15 or 20 more pitches,” Lester told reporters, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Said Maddon: “Jon gave what we needed.”
Lester has provided consistency while fellow starters Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood have struggled and Yu Darvish has battled injury. Lester will attempt to keep rolling Sunday against the Twins, against whom he is 3-4 with a 3.66 ERA in 12 career starts.
The Twins continued to struggle Saturday and lost for the seventh time in their last nine games. For the second straight day, Minnesota blew leads as the Cubs rallied from behind twice before scoring five runs in the seventh inning to snap a 9-9 tie.
Minnesota’s bullpen allowed 10 runs and for the second straight day the Twins were unable to match the Cubs’ offense, which pounded out 20 hits on a day when the temperatures were in the 90s and the heat index registered 107 degrees.
The Twins lost left fielder Eddie Rosario Golden Tate Jersey White , catcher Bobby Wilson and outfielder Max Kepler during the game to heat illness. Cubs’ center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. also left with cramping because of the conditions.
“When the conditions are like that, you do the best you can to prepare them with nutrition and hydration and all those things, but it overtook three of our guys today,” Twins manager Paul Molitor told reporters. “So it was just tough.”
Twins right-hander Lance Lynn will take the mound against a team he is familiar with from his days with the St. Louis Cardinals. Lynn enters Sunday’s start with a 5-6 record and a 4.81 ERA. He allowed five runs (four earned) and struck out eight in his last start against the Chicago White Sox.
Lynn is 6-6 with a 4.06 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) against the Cubs.
Lynn will try to bounce back from an outing in which he had a lead but couldn’t pitch out of trouble in his final inning.
“It’s frustrating, especially with the way things had been going all night. I had eight strikeouts in five and you’ve got 8-9 up, bases are loaded, even though it’s been kind of a funky inning, you want to have that chance http://www.lionscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-golden-tate-iii-jersey ,” Lynn told the team’s official website. “But with the way things had unfolded that inning, you get it. We’re trying to win the game.”
The surging San Francisco Giants have made the NL West a little more intriguing.
Brandon Belt and Joe Panik drove in two runs each, Hunter Pence had a pinch-hit, two-run double, and the Giants completed a three-game sweep with a 9-6 victory over the division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks. It was San Francisco’s seventh win in eight games and their first sweep of the Diamondbacks since September of 2016. San Francisco moved into a second-place tie at 2 1/2 games behind Arizona for the first time since June 10.
A four-run fifth inning highlighted by Pence’s double off reliever Silvino Bracho gave the Giants an 8-3 lead. Cory Gearrin (1-1) got one out in the fourth inning to earn the win in relief of starter Derek Holland.
Afterward, manager Bruce Bochy praised the veteran Pence – who is primarily a bench player at present – for accepting his role.
”He is our spiritual leader. I know his role has changed and he has handled it so well. This is a little bit of a change for him and it is not easy,” Bochy said. ”He has a great attitude and just wants to help the club win.”
The Giants tagged starter Zack Godley (9-6) for seven runs on nine hits in four-plus innings, ending his four-game winning streak. But Holland didn’t make it out of the fourth, chased after loading the bases with an intentional walk with San Francisco leading 4-3.
The Diamondbacks couldn’t take advantage David Krejci Jersey , as Belt raced well beyond the first base bag into shallow right field to throw out Christian Walker at first and end the inning.
”We feel like we are in a good rhythm,” Pence said. ”It’s part of baseball and we feel like we are working on all cylinders and that is definitely momentum.”
Holland allowed three runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Godley’s five walks were the second most he’s issued in a start this season.
”I couldn’t locate certain pitches and they took advantage of that,” Godley said. ”They’re swinging the bat really well right now, one through nine.”
Arizona rallied with two runs in the seventh on Paul Goldschmidt’s 18th home run of the season, and Jarrod Dyson became the eighth player in team history to record at least two hits, two RBIs and two stolen bases in a game.
The Diamondbacks brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth with two outs, but Will Smith struck out Jake Lamb for Smith’s second save.
”They kicked our butts. They came in here and beat us, straight up,” Lamb said.
WALKER IN LEFT
Walker Authentic David Pastrnak Jersey , normally a first baseman, started Sunday in left field for the first time in his 44-game major league career.
To help provide coverage for the bullpen amid a long stretch without a day off, Arizona called up Bracho from Triple-A Reno before Sunday’s game. Pitcher Jimmy Sherfy was sent back to Reno. Bracho has been recalled five times this season.
FIRST PITCH FOR FIRST PICK
Recently drafted Phoenix Suns big man Deandre Ayton, the first overall pick in June’s NBA Draft, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Sunday’s game.
Giants: 3B Pablo Sandoval was hit by a pitch in the right elbow in the third inning and left the game before the bottom of the inning. X-rays were negative and the injury was announced as a deep bruise, with Sandoval’s status day to day. … 3B Evan Longoria is about a week away from taking some swings as he works his way back from a broken left hand, Bochy said. … RHP Jeff Samardzija’s final rehab start for Triple- A Sacramento is set for Monday and he is expected to pitch five or six innings with around 90 pitches.
Diamondbacks: INF Ketel Marte was held out after suffering a right leg cramp in Saturday’s game. Manager Torey Lovullo said he felt the team ”dodged a bullet” as far a more serious injury.
Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (1-2) is set for his sixth start of the season in the series opener against the Colorado Rockies on Monday in Denver.
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray (3-0) is set to face the St. Louis Cardinals in the series opener at Chase Field on Monday.
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