With a heavy heart, Jon Lester strong against Cardinals

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Jon Lester delivers during Saturday’s game. | Getty Images

One of left-hander Jon Lester’s best traits during his career has been his resolve. On Saturday, he used plenty to beat the Cardinals.

After allowing two runs in eight innings, Lester said his uncle died Friday. To honor his uncle, who went to Notre Dame, Lester wrote ‘‘PLACT’’ on the front of his cap, an acronym for the Irish’s ‘‘Play Like a Champion Today’’ slogan.

‘‘That was to let him know I was thinking of him,’’ a tearful Lester said before ending his postgame news conference.

Third baseman Kris Bryant said he didn’t know Lester’s uncle had died until being asked about his teammate’s performance.

‘‘He’s probably one of the best teammates that I’ve been able to play with in my short time,’’ Bryant said. ‘‘You know what you’re going to get from him every day on the mound. He’s going to be the same guy, same competitor, and I love that about him.’’

Kyle’s back

Manager Joe Maddon revealed the Cubs’ rotation for their four games against the White Sox. Right-hander Kyle Hendricks will return from the disabled list to start Monday, and right-hander John Lackey will start Tuesday in the two games at Wrigley Field. Right-hander Jake Arrieta and Lester will start Wednesday and Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Left-hander Mike Montgomery, who’s out of the rotation, was available out of the bullpen Saturday. Maddon praised his attitude and versatility.

‘‘He accepts it,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘He understands it. He gets it.’’

For now, it looks like a six-man rotation isn’t in the cards.

‘‘I think we’ll look and see what’s happening over the course of August,’’ Maddon said.

A matter of time

Thanks to national TV, all three games of the Cubs’ series against the Pirates before the All-Star break had different start times. And the 7:05 p.m. start Sunday for ESPN means each game of this series will have had different start times.

Maddon was asked about the different start times and proposed a solution.

‘‘I believe it should be homogenized throughout baseball,’’ he said. ‘‘I think start times should always be the same in each city. There should be, like, two times. I know sometimes maybe national TV can interfere with that, but I like homogenized start times day and night. That would be awesome. I think it would really help players.’’

Grab a bat, Q

Left-hander Jose Quintana will pitch Sunday and said he’s eager to do what he can in the batter’s box to help his new team.

‘‘I want a base hit,’’ said Quintana, who was hitless in 32 plate appearances with the White Sox but did have an RBI this season.

Maddon didn’t sound concerned that Quintana would get hurt by trying to do too much with the bat.

‘‘I’m happy that he’s eager to do that stuff, but I haven’t even spoken to [pitching coach Chris Bosio] or the hitting coaches regarding how they feel about his ability to hit or bunt,’’ Maddon said.

Roster shuffling

Infielder Tommy La Stella was optioned to Class AAA Iowa. Right-hander Felix Pena was recalled from Iowa.

Follow me on Twitter @BrianSandalow.


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