|5:05 PM PT6:05 PM MT7:05 PM CT8:05 PM ET20:05 ET0:05 GMT8:05 5:05 PM MST7:05 PM EST7:35 PM VEN4:05 UAE (+1)7:05 PM CT, September 13, 2017
Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois Attendance: 36,008
Cubs pound out 17 runs on 16 hits to beat Mets
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(TSX / STATS) -- CHICAGO -- Jon Lester once again got better as he went deeper.
The Chicago Cubs left-hander improved to 3-0 since returning from the disabled list this month with a mostly steady six-inning outing in a 17-5 victory over the New York Mets on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
"If I could take the last three (innings) in the last two games, it would be a lot better," said Lester, who threw 114 pitches. "The (early) command is not crisp right now, and then all of a sudden it falls into place."
Lester (11-7) allowed two runs -- both in the first two innings -- and six hits.
"He got better late," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He did the same thing the last two starts. From the side, stuff looks really good. Velocity, break, all that stuff. (But) they weren't chasing his breaking ball and he wasn't dotting it with his fastball, so that put him in a high-pitch-count situation."
The Cubs provided ample offensive support for Lester and four relievers.
Albert Almora Jr. came off the bench to hit a three-run homer and a three-run triple. Javier Baez went 4-for-5, including a home run; Kris Bryant was 3-for-5, and Ben Zobrist, Willson Contreras and Rene Rivera each had two hits in a 16-hit attack for the Cubs (79-66).
Mets pitchers also walked 11 batters.
New York starter Matt Harvey (5-5) gave up five runs and seven hits in 3 1/3 innings. He slipped to 1-2 since an Aug. 27 return from the disabled list.
"It's kind of hard to take any positives out of the last two years for me," said Harvey, who made his third start since returning from a nearly three-month stay on the disabled list. "It's extremely frustrating. It's hard going out there and not doing what I can do to help this team win. ... That's really all you can say about tonight."
Amed Rosario went 3-for-4, and Travis Taijeron and Jose Reyes each had two hits -- including Reyes' first-inning homer -- for New York (63-82).
Chicago led 5-2 after four innings, and Ian Happ made it 6-2 in the sixth when he reached on an error by Mets third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera while Bryant scored from third.
The Cubs added four runs in the seventh.
Baez launched a Chasen Bradford 2-0 pitch into the left field basket for a solo home run -- his 22nd of the season -- for a 7-2 Chicago lead. Almora belted a three-run homer off right-handed reliever Kevin McGowan, driving in Rivera and Zobrist.
New York's Dominic Smith clubbed his sixth homer of the season -- a three-run shot off Justin Grimm with one out in the eighth -- to trim the deficit to 10-5.
Rivera's one-out double in the eighth off Jacob Rhame plated Jason Heyward and Baez for a 12-5 lead. The Cubs loaded the bases, and Jamie Callahan, the Mets' sixth pitcher, walked Anthony Rizzo to bring home Rivera.
Almora's bases-clearing triple then scored Zobrist, Bryant and Rizzo to make it 16-5. Almora came home on pinch hitter Jon Jay's groundout to short.
Reyes' leadoff homer on a 3-2 pitch gave the Mets a 1-0 lead in the first inning. The opening shot off Lester landed five rows into the left field bleachers for his 13th of the season.
The Cubs loaded the bases in the bottom of the first and scored two runs. Contreras' fielder's-choice grounder to first scored Zobrist from third. Happ then grounded out to second as Bryant came home for a 2-1 lead.
New York tied the score at 2 in the second as Rosario reached on an infield single and moved to third thanks to back-to-back hits. He scored on Harvey's sacrifice.
Chicago produced a three-run fourth, loading the bases with no outs as Harvey departed for right-hander Hansel Robles.
"He's always been a guy who's been able to command the baseball," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Harvey. "He's got to re-establish his delivery and re-establish his release points and find that consistency, and right now it's not there."
Robles walked Rizzo, forcing in Baez from third for a 3-2 lead. Contreras then lined a sharp single to left to drive in Zobrist and Bryant for a 5-2 edge.
NOTES: An official scorer's ruling that 2B Jose Reyes was caught stealing in the seventh inning of the Mets' 8-3 loss to the Cubs on Tuesday was changed to a straight pickoff. ... Reyes' first-inning home run tied Darryl Strawberry (469) for second-most career extra-base hits in Mets history. ... New York has hit a franchise-record 114 homers on the road and leads the National League with 209. ... The Cubs named C Victor Caratini (.342, 10 homers, 61 RBI at Triple-A Iowa) and RHP Jen-Ho Tseng (13-4, 2.54 ERA at Iowa) as the organization's minor league player and pitcher of the year, respectively. ... Tseng is scheduled to start Thursday's series finale against Mets RHP Seth Lugo (6-4, 4.64 ERA). ... The Cubs said they plan to move Thursday's original starter -- LHP Mike Montgomery -- back to the bullpen.
Updated September 14, 2017