Javy Baez homered and drove in three runs, and Ben Zobrist singled home two runs in a three-run fifth inning as the Chicago Cubs beat the host Chicago White Sox 8-3 Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Cubs (90-64) extended their lead in the National League Central to 2 1/2 games over the Milwaukee Brewers (88-67) and stayed 4 1/2 games in front of the third-place St. Louis Cardinals (86-69).
The Cubs got a big break in their fifth-inning rally when White Sox left fielder Ryan LaMarre misjudged a fly ball that went as a go-ahead RBI double by Daniel Murphy and left runners on second and third, setting up Zobrist’s two-run single.
White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (10-12) escaped further damage in the inning. Giolito went 6 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits. He walked three and struck out five.
Cubs veteran left-hander Jon Lester (17-6) made it through the fifth inning and got the win, tying Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals for the NL lead in victories. Lester was pulled after throwing 102 pitches. He gave up three runs (two earned) on eight hits and no walks. He struck out four.
In the fifth, Giolito gave up one-out singles to Kyle Schwarber and David Bote, setting up Murphy’s and Zobrist’s run-scoring hits.
The Cubs scored two runs in the first when Zobrist lined a single to center and Baez roped his 34th home run of the season to left field.
The White Sox (61-93) got one run back in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Avisail Garcia, and Tim Anderson tied the game at 2-2 with a leadoff home run down the left field line in the third.
Anderson’s 20th home run made him the first White Sox shortstop to have at least 20 homers and 20 steals in the same season. He has 26 steals. Matt Davidson singled home Anderson in the fifth to cut the Cubs’ lead to 5-3.
The Cubs tacked on three runs in the ninth, the second on a single by Baez, to extend his NL-leading RBI count to 110.
Cubs relievers Carl Edwards Jr., Jesse Chavez, Justin Wilson and Steve Cishek combined to throw four no-hit innings.
—Field Level Media