Jon Lester pitched seven scoreless, one-hit innings, and a couple of early runs held up for the Chicago Cubs in a 2-0 win over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.
Justin Wilson pitched a perfect eighth inning, and Steve Cishek had a perfect the ninth to complete the shutout and pick up his second save.
Chicago is 8-1 in its past nine games.
Rookie Austin Meadows ripped a two-out triple to the right-field corner in the third for Pittsburgh’s only hit.
Lester (7-2) struck out five and walked two. He retired the final 13 batters he faced. He had been 2-2 with a 6.21 ERA and nine homers allowed in his previous seven starts against Pittsburgh.
Pirates rookie starter Nick Kingham (2-3) gave up two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings, with five strikeouts and two walks. It was the first time he lasted more than six innings since he pitched seven shutout innings in his major league debut April 29.
Steven Brault pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, giving up a hit. Kyle Crick got the final out in the eighth.
The Pirates have lost 16 of their past 21 games, including the first two of the three games in the series. They are assured of going seven straight series without winning one.
In the fourth, Elias Diaz replaced catcher Francisco Cervelli, who an inning earlier got hit in the left jaw by a ball while working behind the plate. Pittsburgh already was working with a short bench because second baseman Josh Harrison was excused to be away from the team for personal reasons.
Kris Bryant reached to lead off the game when he was hit in the left upper arm by a Kingham pitch. Jason Heyward followed with a double that dropped in when center fielder Starling Marte slipped on grass that was wet after morning storms, with Bryant moving to third.
Bryant scored and Heyward moved to third on Ben Zobrist’s grounder to first. Anthony Rizzo’s sacrifice fly brought Heyward home to make it 2-0.
—Field Level Media