Jon Lester, Addison Russell record firsts in win

SHARE Jon Lester, Addison Russell record firsts in win

Friday was a day of firsts for the Cubs.

Jon Lester threw seven scoreless innings for his first win, a 1-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. Addison Russell hit the first home run of his career, a solo shot in the third inning that gave Lester all the support he needed and helped the Cubs win their fifth game in six.

That Lester (1-2) pitched the way he did – even against a team as bad as the Brewers – is encouraging for the Cubs after they gave him a six-year, $155 million contract in the offseason. Lester’s peripheral numbers were strong entering Friday, but the results hadn’t been.

Those results were there against the last-place Brewers. He allowed only three hits and struck out four and lowered his earned-run average to 4.71, retiring 15 of the last 16 batters he faced.

“I know he’s not satisfied with what he’s done so far, but I know that he feels good about the fact he keeps advancing in the right direction,” manager Joe Maddon said before the game. “I know he’s aware of that and that’s important.”

Russell is also important to the Cubs. Entering the day hitting just .179, Russell wasn’t in the lineup Wednesday against the Pirates and appeared to take advantage of the day off, giving the Cubs enough offense against Wily Peralta (0-4).

That said, the Cubs should have had more early.

The Cubs had three hits in the first but couldn’t score against Peralta because of questionable baserunning. Dexter Fowler led off with a single but was thrown out at third on Jorge Soler’s single to center. Anthony Rizzo followed with a single of his own but he was thrown out trying to steal second, ending the inning as Kris Bryant struck out swinging.

Russell then led off the third with his homer, taking Peralta’s 3-2 pitch over the bricks in left-center and into newly installed (but still empty) bleachers. The Cubs then loaded the bases but couldn’t score more after Starlin Castro grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

None of that hurt the Cubs because of their pitching. Lester, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon combined to blank Milwaukee for the Cubs’ fourth shutout of the year.

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