Javy Baez blasted a solo home run in the eighth inning to break a stellar pitcher’s duel and give the Cubs a 1-0 victory against the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS at Wrigley Field on Friday.

Starting pitchers Johnny Cueto and Jon Lester went toe to toe without giving up a run until Baez’s late-game blast.

Lester threw eight innings of scoreless baseball, allowing just five hits, no walks and striking out five. He retired the last 13 batters he faced.

Cueto was nearly as good, going eight innings with just the one run on three hits, no walks and 10 strikeouts.

Aroldis Chapman closed out the victory with a scoreless ninth inning. Buster Posey doubled to put the tying run on second, but Hunter Pence grounded out to end the game.

Bottom Eighth: Javy Baez blasted a soaring solo home run with one out in the bottom of the eighth to break the stalemate and give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

With a full count against Johnny Cueto, Baez sent the pitch high into left field and over the wall. The wind tried to bring the ball back, but it landed in the basket in left.

Baez knew the ball was gone as soon as it came off the bat, and the crack of the bat elicited instant joy from Bill Murray in the stands.

Lester will give way to Aroldis Chapman in the ninth. The Giants will have the top of the order due up.

Lester’s final line: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K

Cueto’s final line: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 10 K

Headed to top ninth: Cubs 1, Giants 0

Due up for Giants: Hernandez, Belt, Posey

Top Eighth: Jon Lester hasn’t blinked, and Johnny Cueto isn’t coming out.

Cueto grounded out to end a fourth consecutive 1-2-3 inning by Lester, who has now retired 13 batters in a row.

Aroldis Chapman is warming up for the Cubs, and he’s probably on standby should the Cubs take the lead here in the eighth or ninth.

Lester is due up fourth for the Cubs next inning.

Headed to bottom eighth: Giants 0, Cubs 0

Due up for Cubs: Heyward, Baez, Ross

Bottom Seventh: As good as Johnny Cueto has been, he’s had plenty of help from his defense. Kelby Tomlinson made a second diving play tonight to snare a base hit away from Anthony Rizzo.

Cueto struck out his ninth Cubs hitter by freezing Zobrist on a fastball. He’s retired seven in a row after back-to-back 1-2-3 innings.

Cueto is due up in the top of the eighth, and he’s thrown 99 pitches, so his day may be finished. That would be music to the Cubs’ ears with only two hits tonight.

No one is up in the bullpen yet for the Giants.

Aroldis Chapman is warming in the Cubs pen.

Headed to top eighth: Giants 0, Cubs 0

Due up for Giants: Tomlinson, Gillaspie, Cueto

Top Seventh: Jon Lester is poised to go the distance in this one.

He needed only six pitches to record his third straight 1-2-3 inning. He’s now retired 10 batters in a row.

Lester has thrown only 79 pitches through seven innings, and 55 of them have been for strikes.

Johnny Cueto has been every bit as good, if not better, and will face the Cubs’ 3-4-5 hitters in the seventh.

Headed to bottom seventh: Giants 0, Cubs 0

Due up for Cubs: Rizzo, Zobrist, Russell

Bottom Sixth: Johnny Cueto struck out the side in another 1-2-3 inning.

Jon Lester, Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant all went down swinging.

Through six, I think it’s safe to call this scoreless gem of a playoff game a pitcher’s duel.

As we move to the top of the seventh, neither Lester nor Cueto look like they’re going to break.

Also, here’s a fun fact about David Ross from the FOX broadcast:

He’s the first Cubs catcher with a pickoff and a caught stealing in the same postseason game since 1935.

Headed to top seventh: Giants 0, Cubs 0

Due up for Giants: Pence, Pagan, Crawford

Top Sixth: Jon Lester is doing it all tonight.

Buster Posey hit a hard shot back to Lester with two outs in the sixth, and Lester ran the ball to first himself because it was stuck in the webbing of his glove.

Lester threw a second straight 1-2-3 inning and has retired seven in a row. He’s also got more strikeouts in the last two innings (3) than the Cubs have hits all game (2).

Lester is due to lead off the seventh for the Cubs, and there’s no reason for Joe Maddon to look to someone else yet. Lester is rolling.

Headed to bottom sixth: Giants 0, Cubs0

Due up for Cubs: Lester, Fowler, Bryant

Bottom Fifth: Johnny Cueto has matched Jon Lester tit for tat in the bottom half of each inning in this game.

He struck out two batters in the fifth and gave up only a harmless single to Javy Baez.

Cueto’s line through five: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 5 K. He’s thrown 74 pitches and 46 for strikes.

We’re through five innings in 90 minutes, and this game is showing early signs of this being one tremendous Division Series.

Headed to top sixth: Giants 0, Cubs 0

Due up for Giants: Hernandez, Belt, Posey

Top Fifth: A 1-2-3 inning for Lester for the first time tonight, including a pair of strikeouts.

Lester’s line through five: 5 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. He’s thrown 61 pitches and 43 strikes, so he should be able to go deep into the game.

Addison Russell will lead off for the Cubs, who have just one hit against Johnny Cueto.

Headed to bottom fifth: Giants 0, Cubs 0

Due up for Cubs: Russell, Heyward, Baez

Bottom Fourth: Kris Bryant to the rescue…maybe?

The All-Star (and future MVP?) roped a double to left field with one out in the fourth to end Johnny Cueto’s perfect game.

Bryant advanced to third on a groundout by Anthony Rizzo, but he was ultimately stranded there. The Giants made another superb defensive play when Kelby Tomlinson made a diving effort to pick up a ground ball and throw out Ben Zobrist.

Will Bryant’s double wake the sleeping Cubs bats? He’s their only hit through four.

Headed to top fifth: Giants 0, Cubs 0

Due up for Giants: Tomlinson, Gillaspie, Cueto

Top Fourth: This game is a sportswriter’s dream, chugging along at a breakneck pace.

The Giants threatened, though, for the first time here in the fourth. Angel Pagan singled to left field, and a diving Ben Zobrist couldn’t keep the ball in front of him.

Fortunately for the Cubs, Buster Posey didn’t realize there were two outs and hesitated before heading to second. He had to stop at third, and Jon Lester retired Brandon Crawford after going to an 0-2 count to end the inning.

Whew. This is a tense one.

Heart of the order due up for the Cubs to try to break up Johnny Cueto’s perfect game.

Headed to bottom fourth: Giants 0, Cubs 0

Due up for Cubs: Fowler, Bryant, Rizzo.


Bottom Third: We had the play of the game so far here in the third. David Ross hit a warning-track shot to left-center field, but Gorkys Hernandez read the wind and managed to make a wonderful diving catch as the ball blew into him.

More bad news for the Cubs: They have now gone down in order in each of the first three innings.

Who will blink first, Cueto or Lester?

Headed to top fourth: Giants 0, Cubs 0

Due up for Giants: Belt, Posey, Pence

Top Third: Jon Lester let the leadoff man get on for the third time, a disturbing trend in this game for the Cubs.

But David Ross and the defense had his back. Ross picked Conor Gillaspie off at first base after a pitchout and a quick throw to Javy Baez at first. It was a beautiful play, and the 39-year-old Ross was clearly fired up.

Lester put down the next two batters in order.

Following up on a comment I made earlier: Ross gave some grief to home plate umpire Todd Tichenor about the strike zone. Cueto has gotten a few calls that Lester has not. But it hasn’t affected the score yet.

Headed to bottom third: Giants 0, Cubs 0

Due up for Cubs: Baez, Ross, Lester

Bottom Second: Six up, six down for the Cubs so far.

Johnny Cueto has been fire through two innings with two strikeouts, two groundouts and two flyouts.

Who will blink first, Cueto or Lester?

Headed to top third: Giants 0, Cubs 0

Due up for Giants: Gillaspie, Cueto, Hernandez

Top Second: Are Fox Sports’ dizzying angles causing you to lose your dinner yet? Just because you CAN use different angles, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. If it ain’t broke, right?

Anyway, the Giants put their leadoff man on for the second straight inning after Javy Baez was unable to come up with a hard grounder up the middle off the bat of Hunter Pence.

Jon Lester didn’t let Pence get very far, though. Kelby Tomlinson grounded out on a comebacker with Pence at second base to end the inning.

So far the Giants have two leadoff infield singles and nothing to show for it. Good sign for the Cubs.

Headed to bottom second: Giants 0, Cubs 0

Due up for Cubs: Zobrist, Russell, Heyward

Bottom First: A pitcher’s duel appears imminent…

The Cubs went down in order in the bottom of the first, thanks in part to a generous strike zone from home-plate umpire Todd Tichenor.

Dexter Fowler was called out on strikes after a high and outside pitch is followed by a low and away pitch out of the zone.

Kris Byrant took a pitch below his knees that also went for a strike. He wound up grounding out right to pitcher Johnny Cueto.

Headed to top of the second: Giants 0, Cubs 0

Due up for Giants: Pence, Pagan, Crawford

Top First: We’re underway at Wrigley!

Jon Lester looking very sharp here after the first half inning. He struck out Brandon Belt with an inside fastball and got Buster Posey to fly out softly to right.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy didn’t waste any time making the first move in this chess match. Gorkys Hernandez laid down a perfect bunt single that the Cubs had no play on.

Hernandez tried to steal second during the next at-bat and was thrown out by a cannon of a throw from David Ross.

Headed to bottom of the first: Giants 0, Cubs 0.

Due up for Cubs: Fowler, Bryant, Rizzo.

With the Nationals-Dodgers game running long, the Cubs will begin tonight on MLB Network. It’ll switch to Fox Sports 1 at the conclusion of the other NLDS game.

Don’t have MLB Network? No worries. We’ve got you covered right here.

Is next year finally here?

We won’t know tonight, but we will find out if these young Cubs can carry their best regular season in 106 years into the playoffs.

Keep it right here for updates throughout tonight’s game. In the meantime, a preview of Game 1 action:

Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA) will start for the Cubs and Johnny Cueto (18-5, 2.79 ERA) will take the bump for the Giants.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:


1. Hernandez, CF; 2. Belt, 1B; 3. Posey, C; 4. Pence, RF; 5. Pagan, LF; 6. Crawford, SS; 7. Tomlinson, 2B; 8. Gillaspie, 3B; 9. Cueto, P


1. Fowler, CF; 2. Bryant, 3B; 3. Rizzo, 1B; 4. Zobrist, LF; 5. Russell, SS; 6 Heyward, RF; 7. Baez, 2B; 8. Ross, C; 9. Lester, P

In case you need to catch up on our coverage of the NLDS today, here’s a handy guide:

Tears, cheers: Cubs fans young and old ready for World Series run

Photos: Fans outside Wrigley for Game 1

Prime time throughout Division Series for Cubs, Giants

Zobrist in left field, Baez at second for Cubs in Game 1

Billy Williams to toss ceremonial first pitch for Cubs tonight

Cubs keep three catchers, add rookie Almora as playoff roster set