Cubs left-hander Jon Lester and Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto matched up in a memorable pitchers' duel at Wrigley Field on Friday night in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.Ultimately, Cueto blinked first, as Chicago's Javier Báez provided the game's only run with a towering drive that just cleared
Cubs left-hander Jon Lester and Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto matched up in a memorable pitchers' duel at Wrigley Field on Friday night in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.
Ultimately, Cueto blinked first, as Chicago's Javier Báez provided the game's only run with a towering drive that just cleared the left-field wall with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning. After 103 regular-season victories, the Cubs now have their first of this postseason heading into Saturday night's Game 2 ( 8 p.m. ET, MLB Network).
Here are some key facts and figures to know from the NL Central champions' dramatic 1-0 win:
• This was the first 1-0 postseason game since the Red Sox beat the Tigers in Game 3 of the 2013 American League Championship Series and the first 1-0 Division Series game since the A's beat the Tigers in Game 2 of the ALDS that same year.
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The Cubs had won 1-0 in the postseason only one other time, and that was more than 100 years ago. In Game 4 of the 1906 World Series, the Cubs' Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown threw a shutout to outduel Nick Altrock of the White Sox, and second baseman Johnny Evers of "Tinker to Evers to Chance" fame provided the lone RBI.
• This was the first time in 15 career postseason starts that Lester completed eight innings, although on two other occasions -- both with the Red Sox -- he went at least seven without allowing a run. Before giving way to closer Aroldis Chapman in the ninth, Lester gave up only five hits (one for extra bases), walked nobody and struck out five.
• Lester and Chapman combined to throw the 11th shutout for the Cubs in their postseason history. Chicago now has enjoyed two postseason shutouts in the last two seasons, following Jake Arrieta's complete-game effort against the Pirates in last year's NL Wild Card Game, which took place exactly a year earlier. The franchise's last shutout win before that came 31 years earlier in Game 1 of the 1984 NL Championship Series against the Padres.
• Before Arrieta's shutout, the Cubs hadn't had a postseason start of at least eight scoreless innings in 70 years -- since Claude Passeau did it in Game 3 of the 1945 World Series. Now they have two such outings in one year.
• Lester needed just 86 pitches on the night. Since 1981, only two other starting pitchers had gone at least eight scoreless innings in a postseason game while throwing 90 or fewer pitches: Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals in Game 3 of the 2006 World Series and Hall of Famer Greg Maddux for the Braves in Game 2 of the 1996 Fall Classic.
• This was only the third 1-0 loss in Giants postseason history and the first since Game 6 of the 1987 NLCS against the Cardinals.
• It was a tough-luck loss for Cueto. He joined the Dodgers' Don Newcombe as the only pitchers to go eight or more innings, strike out 10 or more batters without a walk, allow just one run and lose a postseason start. It happened to Newcombe in Game 1 of the 1949 World Series against the Yankees, as Tommy Heinrich hit a walk-off homer to open the bottom of the ninth.
• Had Cueto been able to finish the eighth unscathed, it would have marked only the second time in postseason history that both starters finished their outings with at least eight scoreless frames. The other was Game 2 of the 1981 NLDS, when the Dodgers' Jerry Reuss put up nine zeros and the Astros' Joe Niekro eight in an eventual 1-0 Houston win in 11.
• Baez's home run was just the third go-ahead homer hit by a Cubs player in the eighth inning or later of a postseason game. The other two were by Randall Simon in the top of the eighth of Game 3 of the 2003 NLCS against the Marlins, and a solo shot by Hall of Famer Joe Tinker that also broke a scoreless tie in the eighth inning of Game 2 of the, yes, 1908 World Series against the Tigers -- Chicago's last title triumph.
• Baez became the 12th player and first Cub to homer in a 1-0 postseason game. Just two others have pulled off the feat since the turn of the century: Mike Napoli for the Red Sox in Game 3 of the 2013 ALCS and Jorge Posada for the Yankees in Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS.
• Before Baez's homer, the Giants had a streak of 23 scoreless postseason innings going back to 2014. It started in the third inning of the seventh game of that World Series with Jeremy Affeldt throwing two innings and Madison Bumgarner going the final five for the save. Bumgarner then tossed a shutout in Wednesday's Wild Card Game win over the Mets before passing the baton to Cueto.
• Once Baez homered, the odds were stacked strongly against the Giants. During the regular season, San Francisco was 0-62 when trailing after eight innings. Meanwhile, the Cubs went 92-1 when leading after eight.
• David Ross did his part to help Lester eliminate Giants baserunners, catching Gorkys Hernández trying to steal second base in the top of the first and then picking off Conor Gillaspie on a set play in the top of the third. With those two plays, Ross became the first Cubs catcher to record a caught stealing and a pickoff in the same postseason game since Hall of Famer Gabby Hartnett in Game 3 of the 1935 World Series.
Andrew Simon and Matt Kelly are reporters for MLB.com.