CHICAGO — Hours before Jon Lester had even thrown his first pitch on Tuesday, Cubs manager Joe Maddon acknowledged that managing his injury-riddled bullpen could be a challenge.
But a night after Maddon was forced to juggle a collection of relievers following a stellar effort from Kyle Hendricks in a
CHICAGO — Hours before
But a night after Maddon was forced to juggle a collection of relievers following a stellar effort from Kyle Hendricks in a dramatic Cubs victory, Lester ran into early trouble and never escaped in a lopsided 11-4 loss to the Athletics at Wrigley Field.
Lester surrendered 11 runs (10 earned) on 10 hits over just four innings as the Cubs saw their four-game winning streak snapped. Lester struck out six, walked three and was hit hardest in the second inning when the A’s batted around and scored eight times. Lester took his second straight loss and has not won since July 13. The 11 runs were the most allowed by the left-hander since July 22, 2012.
The Cubs’ ace gave up three-run homers to Dustin Garneau and Stephen Piscotty, whose blast in the fourth inning extended the A’s lead to 11-0 and spelled the end of the night for Lester.
The Cubs struggled offensively against A’s starter Brett Anderson, who threw five scoreless innings before Kris Bryant finally ended the drought with a two-run homer in the sixth.
Before Bryant went deep, Cubs reliever Duane Underwood Jr. ignited the crowd of 40,627 by striking out the side in back-to-back innings in his 2019 debut. Underwood, who was called up from Triple-A Iowa when closer Craig Kimbrel was placed on the 10-day injured list on Monday, pitched two flawless innings with six strikeouts before Maddon turned to Derek Holland in the seventh.
Underwood’s effort tied a franchise record for most consecutive strikeouts by a reliever on a night when Cubs relievers held the A’s without a hit for four innings. Maddon turned to reserve catcher Taylor Davis to pitch the ninth, with Kyle Schwarber serving as his catcher. Davis loaded the bases with three straight singles, but then retired the next three hitters without allowing a run.