MESA, Ariz. — Cubs ace Jon Lester got his work in, but the Brewers took control of a 2-2 game with a three-run sixth inning and went on to beat the Cubs 7-4 on Saturday in the second Cactus League meeting already this spring.
Facing almost the entire Brewers’ starting lineup at Sloan Park, Lester gave up an opposite-field, two-out homer to Travis Shaw on a fastball in the first but allowed only one hit the rest of the way in a three-inning, fastball-focused start.
“You’re always just trying to work on fastball command [at this point in the spring],” Lester said. “Behind in the count I’m not going to nitpick at all. During the season in that situation I’ll maybe try something different than just firing heaters.”
From J-Hey’ to Z
Outfielder Mark Zagunis, who took over when Jason Heyward was scratched from the Cubs lineup after taking ill, doubled home a run in the fifth off former 17-game winner Zach Davies, and finished 1-for-2.
“Zagunis is swinging the bat well,” manager Joe Maddon said.
Not seeing Reds
The Cubs are keeping Cole Hamels back in Mesa on his scheduled start day Monday to throw a simulated game rather than make the trip across Phoenix to Goodyear to face the division-rival Reds.
Right-hander Alec Mills will start in Goodyear.
Montgomery to “debut”
Left-hander Mike Montgomery, the linchpin swingman of the pitching staff, also will stay back in Mesa on Monday to pitch an inning in a simulated game, making his pseudo game debut this spring.
Montgomery’s work in camp was pushed back because of shoulder stiffness as official workouts almost three weeks ago.
Three of the top seven finishers and five of the 19 players who received National League MVP votes last season were in Saturday’s starting lineups – including MVP Christian Yelich of the Brewers and runner-up Javy Baez of the Cubs.
Also: No. 7 finisher Lorenzo Cain of the Brewers, No. 16 Jesus Aguilar of the Brewers and No. 17 Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs.
On deck: White Sox at Cubs, Sloan Park, Mesa, Arizona, 2:05 p.m. Sunday, cubs.com radio, Manny Banuelos vs. Yu Darvish.