MILWAUKEE -- Jonathan Lester got to test his "Pippen-to-Jordan" pass, and it worked in the first inning on Thursday night in the Cubs' 8-0 win over the Brewers at Miller Park.The Cubs pitcher has struggled throwing to first base, or any base for that matter. He's acknowledged it. And the
MILWAUKEE -- Jonathan Lester got to test his "Pippen-to-Jordan" pass, and it worked in the first inning on Thursday night in the Cubs' 8-0 win over the Brewers at Miller Park.
The Cubs pitcher has struggled throwing to first base, or any base for that matter. He's acknowledged it. And the Brewers know it, too. This spring, Lester and Cubs coach Brian Butterfield worked on a bounce pass from Lester to help him.
With two outs in the Brewers' first on Thursday, Ryan Braun walked against Lester and stole second quickly and without a throw before the lefty had delivered a pitch to Travis Shaw. Braun then tried to steal third, but this time, Lester bounced the ball to third baseman Kristopher Bryant, and Braun was tagged out.
"They weren't even going to wait for the ball to be delivered to the plate," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the Brewers. "Two things happened -- that we fulfilled that and it'll give him a lot more confidence, and they only had a couple baserunners, which is the best method to prevent basestealing."
Lester scattered three hits over six shutout innings in the win over the Brewers in the series opener.
"You can't control the other team's game plan," Lester said. "You have to try to execute your stuff. We were able to get a free out there."
Lester remembered what Braun did the last time he faced him and wasn't surprised that the Brewers tried it again.
"They're an athletic team and I think they led the league last year in stolen bases," Lester said. "You know they're going to bring that to the table. You don't allow baserunners and it's OK."
Before the game, Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell was asked if they'd try to take advantage of Lester.
"We'll be aggressive, yes," Counsell said.
In case you aren't a Chicago Bulls' fan, Lester's bounce pass is a reference to Hall of Famers Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan.
"I like what he's doing," Maddon said of Lester's effort. "I think he'll get comfortabe with that and that's all he needs to do."
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. MLB.com reporter Adam McCalvy contributed to this report.