Dodgers jump to early lead, cruise past Cubs
CHICAGO -- Howie Kendrick hit a two-run double in a rough first inning for Chicago starter Jon Lester to spark the Dodgers to a 4-0 victory over the Cubs and split their four-game series Thursday in front of 41,498, the largest crowd of the season at Wrigley Field.
Enrique Hernandez hit an RBI triple and scored on Jimmy Rollins' single in the second to back Carlos Frias, who threw five scoreless innings for the win. Frias overcame early-week flu symptoms and dehydration to even his record at 5-5. More >
The Dodgers knocked Lester out after four innings, his shortest outing of the season. In five starts this month, the left-hander has a 5.74 ERA, giving up 17 earned runs over 26 2/3 innings.
"The fastball was not going to where he wanted it to go, and that was a problem," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Lester.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
He can play defense: The lineup maneuverings triggered by Yasiel Puig's scratch had Alex Guerrero in left field, and in the fourth inning, he charged Miguel Montero's pinch-hit single and cut down Chris Coghlan trying to score from second base. It was Guerrero's first career outfield assist.
Tempers flared: Lester needed 24 pitches to get through seven batters. He then walked A.J. Ellis to start the second, but he wasn't happy with the call, and home-plate umpire Andy Fletcher noticed. Fletcher started to walk toward the mound, but catcher David Ross stepped between the pitcher and umpire. Maddon then came out and had a heated discussion with Fletcher, and somehow no one was ejected. Lester was lifted after throwing 75 pitches over four innings.
"I don't know why he was so upset," Lester said of Fletcher. "I had my head down when I was yelling. Nothing was directed at him ... and I don't know what was going on. It had nothing to do with the umpire's strike zone. I have to execute better."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Thursday's game was Lester's shortest since a four-inning outing on July 22, 2012, against the Blue Jays, when he gave up 11 runs on nine hits and five walks over four innings.
In the Dodgers' seventh, Justin Turner hit what he thought was a home run to left. The ball hit the yellow rope on top of the basket rimming the outfield wall and bounced back onto the field. Cubs left fielder Coghlan thought the ball was out of the park, and he didn't chase it until center fielder Chris Denorfia shouted his way. The umpires then conducted a crew chief review for a potential home run. Replay officials overturned the home run call, and Turner was credited with a triple.
"I was lobbying for a home run, but that's my first triple," Turner said.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant left the game after two innings because of flu-like symptoms. Bryant has started every game since he was promoted to the big leagues on April 17. He was batting .278, and he was 3-for-10 in his last three games. The Cubs were short-handed to start the game because shortstop Starlin Castro was at a Chicago hospital waiting for the birth of his second child, but Castro was at Wrigley Field by the third inning and back at shortstop in the sixth. More >
Dodgers: Puig's availability could be a game-time decision prior to Friday's 4:10 p.m. PT contest at Miami. He was scratched from the lineup Wednesday and Thursday after tearing open a callus on the palm of his left hand Monday night. The Dodgers won two of three games between the two clubs in Los Angeles in May.
Cubs: Jake Arrieta starts on Friday, when the Cubs travel to Busch Stadium to face their NL Central rivals, the Cardinals. Arrieta is 1-1 so far this season against the Redbirds. The right-hander is coming off a shutout against the Twins in which he threw a career high 122 pitches. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. CT.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.