Soler powers 5-run first as Lester, Cubs beat Brewers 6-1

SHARE Soler powers 5-run first as Lester, Cubs beat Brewers 6-1

Jorge Soler hits a three-run homer in the first inning Wednesday night.

Jorge Soler’s impact on the Cubs’ lineup is about one word if you ask teammates such as Jon Lester and David Ross:


As in: “He has a presence. He’s a big feller.”

That from the voice of Jon Lester, who took advantage of a five-run first by Soler and the rest of the lineup to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-1 Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.

“When Georgie is swinging it well, he’s a huge part of the team,” said Ross, whose third-inning homer was the aftershock to Soler’s three-run bolt to cap the first-inning surge. “He’s a presence with the power he has in the lineup, how well he’s hitting lefties, and he’s hitting righties, and not missing the ball. You can tell he’s locked in. It’s fun.”

Soler, who gained big-stage notoriety when he reached base nine straight plate appearances during the playoffs last fall, spent nearly two months on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

But starting with a home run in his first at-bat off the DL on Aug. 5, he’s 9-for-25 (.360) with three homers, a double and seven RBIs.

The Cubs are 10-2 in that stretch – and have won 17 of the last 20 overall.

“When he’s in a zone and not permitting the pitcher to expand [the strike zone], he’s very good,” manager Joe Maddon said.

Lester (13-4) was just as good from the mound, though admittedly without his best command.

In fact, when he walked Jake Elmore with two out in the seventh on his 118th pitch, he snatched angrily at the ball when Ross threw it back to the mound – his night of work done.

“I’m more pissed off than anything I couldn’t finish off that inning,” said Lester, who nonetheless received a big ovation from the crowd as he walked to the dugout. “That was nice. I don’t ever take any of that stuff for granted. But I don’t particularly like getting taken out in the middle of innings.

“The fans have been great. We try to go out there every night and put up a good product and try to win.”

Lester struck out seven and walked only two in a three-hit effort, despite his own disappointment.

“I would have liked to get that last out,” he said. “I would have felt a lot better about that outing than I do now. The biggest thing is we won. That’s all that matters.”

If anything, his pitching should have resulted in a scoreless outing Wednesday. But after Keon Broxton led off the sixth with a single, he stole second base easily without Lester doing much to hold him on.

And Lester, whose troubles throwing to bases are well documented, stepped off the rubber and watched with the ball in his hand as Broxton stole third after getting a huge jump.

When Orlando Arcia followed with a slow infield roller for an out, Broxton scored.

It didn’t stop Lester from lifting the rotation’s record to 11-0 this month (combined 1.13 ERA in those 15 starts).

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