Jordan Lyles pulled in 1st, Starling Marte homers twice in Pirates loss |

Jordan Lyles pulled in 1st, Starling Marte homers twice in Pirates loss

Associated Press
Pirates starting pitcher Jordan Lyles stands on the pitchers mound as he’s about be removed from the game against the Cubs during the first inning Saturday, July, 13, 2019, in Chicago.
The Pirates’ Jung Ho Kang hits a home run against the Cubs during the fifth inning Saturday, July, 13, 2019, in Chicago.
Getty Images
Pirates starting pitcher Jordan Lyles hands the game ball to Clint Hurdle after being during the first inning Saturday, July, 13, 2019, in Chicago.
Getty Images
Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester celebrates with teammates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run in the third inning against the Pirates on Saturday, July, 13, 2019, in Chicago.
Getty Images
The Pirates’ Corey Dickerson hits his head sliding to third base in the seventh inning against the Cubs on July 13, 2019 in Chicago.

CHICAGO — Jon Lester showed he still has it all going on in his 14th major league season.

Lester homered, tied a career high with three RBIs and pitched effectively into the seventh inning to lead the Chicago Cubs past the Pittsburgh Pirates, 10-4, on Saturday.

All-Star catcher Willson Contreras’ three-run homer and Lester’s two-run single off the left-field wall were the big hits in the Cubs’ seven-run first inning. In the third, the 35-year-old left-hander connected for his third career home run — all with the Cubs at Wrigley Field — for the NL Central leaders.

Starling Marte hit a pair of solo shots to give him three homers in two days in Chicago, and Jung Ho Kang also had a long solo homer.

Chicago sent 12 batters to the plate in the first and chased Pirates starter Jordan Lyles (5-6) after only two outs.

Lyles yielded seven runs and four hits with four walks before being replaced by Chris Stratton.

“I was just spraying balls all over the place,” Lyles said. “There was a lot that went on in that first inning, a couple of unnecessary walks. Just a bad day overall.”

Lester (9-6) allowed three runs and eight hits while striking out six and walking none in 62/3 innings before leaving after 98 pitches.

“I think this is the best version of Jon that I’ve seen as a total athlete, a pitcher,” manager Joe Maddon said. “You talk about his hitting also if you want, everything about his performance.”

Lester joked he’s feeling old and has to mind more details to keep performing at a level that’s made him a five-time All-Star. But the lefty has won four of his last five starts and is showing no signs of slowing down.

“The last I don’t know how many outings I’ve felt better about my stuff and where I’ve been at,” Lester said. “Hopefully I can kind of ride that momentum as we go forward in the second half and down the stretch.”

After spending his first nine seasons in the American League, Lester has embraced hitting in this last five with the Cubs.

“I take a little more pride in that since I’ve been over here,” he said. “Just trying to get quality at-bats and see some pitches.”

Addison Russell drove in two runs as the Cubs won for the fourth time in five games. Anthony Rizzo beat a shift with a dribbling RBI single to left to start the scoring before Contreras hit his 19th homer to the basket in right-center.

After Lester drove in two more, Javier Baez added an RBI double.

Lester’s homer to left made it 8-0 in the third. Russell singled in two runs in the fourth to push it to 10-0.

Kang homered in the fifth, and Marte connected in the sixth.

Lester was replaced by Brandon Kintzler in the seventh after the Pirates stroked three singles to made it 10-3. Marte homered again in the eighth off Randy Rosario.

Pirates OF Corey Dickerson (right groin strain) was out of the lineup again but pinch-hit in the seventh and grounded into a fielder’s choice.

Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli, out since suffering a concussion 25, said he’s working with a new doctor and pursuing “difficult and hard” therapy he hopes will make him feel “normal.” He had no timetable for his return.

Cervelli was hurt when he was struck in the helmet by Joc Pederson’s broken-bat backswing in a game against the Dodgers at PNC Park. While sidelined, the 33-year-old has practiced at other positions, but Saturday he denied he had ruled out ever catching again.

Pirates RHP Trevor Williams (3-2, 4.54) faces Cubs LHP Jose Quintana (6-7, 4.19) on Sunday afternoon. Williams is 1-1 with an 8.31 ERA in three starts since returning from a right side strain. Quintana has been sharp in his last two starts, winning both and allowing just three runs over 13 innings.

Categories: Sports | Pirates
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.