July 15, 2018 / 11:59 PM / 2 months ago

Cubs jump out to early lead, hold off Padres

EditorsNote: Adds missing word “sweep” to lede, corrects a few stats

The Cubs jumped to a 5-0 lead after two innings and Jon Lester picked up his 12th win of the season Sunday as Chicago scored a 7-4 win in San Diego to complete a three-game sweep of the Padres.

Lester (12-2) allowed three runs on six hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. With the win, Chicago heads into the All-Star break with a 2 ½-game lead in the National League Central.

All five of the Cubs runs in the first two innings were scored against Padres rookie left-hander Eric Lauer, who fell to 5-6. He allowed five runs on five hits and one walk and departed after the second.

Anthony Rizzo opened the game by beating the Padres’ shift, rolling a single to left. Kris Bryant drew a walk, and after Jason Heyward flew out to right, Javier Baez singled home Rizzo. Addison Russell followed with an RBI single that plated Bryant, and Baez scored on Ben Zobrist’s groundout.

Rizzo again beat the shift with a bloop double to left to put Cubs at second and third with one out in the second. Heyward drove both runners home with a two-out, seeing-eye single to center.

The Cubs widened their lead to 6-0 in the top of the fourth when David Bote stole second, moved to third on catcher Austin Hedges’ throwing error and scored on Rizzo’s sacrifice fly to left.

The Padres got on the board in the bottom of the fourth on Christian Villanueva’s 19th homer of the season. The Cubs scored in the top of the sixth when Bryant was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. The Padres got two in the bottom of the inning on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch that chased Lester and a bases-loaded walk two batters later by James Norwood.

Hunter Renfroe’s second homer in as many games cut the Cubs’ lead to three runs in the bottom of the seventh, but San Diego went scoreless over the final two innings.

Right-hander Brandon Morrow closed out the ninth for the Cubs. to pick up his 22nd save.

—Field Level Media

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