CHICAGO – Even though they sit on opposite ends of the National League, two pitchers seemed poised to make the game at Wrigley Field on Monday night a competitive one.
Jon Lester, having shaken off some post-All-Star Game doldrums, was facing Noah Syndergaard in a pitching match-up that had the potential for a duel.
Not so much.
The offenses and the favorable conditions they were in made Monday night all about high scoring at the Friendly Confines.
Thanks to Lester’s bat more than his arm, and a late surge by the home team hitters, the Cubs rallied from an early two-run deficit to knock off the Mets 7-4. It extended their winning streak to six games as they score seven-or-more runs for the fifth time in that stretch.
Anthony Rizzo added two more RBI as his strong month of August continued, and Lester helped his cause with a two-run single in the third as the Cubs improve to 77-53 on the season.
Hopes for a Lester-Syndergaard showdown faded in the first inning when the Mets got on the board with an Austin Jackson single and the Cubs countered with an RBI double from Rizzo. New York got the lead back the next inning on a towering 472-foot homer by Michael Conforto that cleared the batter’s eye in center and ended up five rows deep in the upper level of the bleachers. Amed Rosario knocked in another later in the inning to make it 3-1.
Syndergaard then had his moment in the third with two outs as a wild pitch brought home Javier Baez to give the Cubs a second run. When Willson Contreras reached on an infield single and Kyle Schwarber was intentionally walked, Lester made his opponent pay as he knocked a two-run single into left to give the Cubs a 4-3 lead.
Steve Cishek allowed just his fourth homer of the season to Kevin Plawecki in the seventh but the Cubs had a response in the bottom half. Ben Zobrist doubled to left field to put the Cubs back ahead and then scored on a fielder’s choice later in the inning to make it 6-4. Rizzo, who was named National League Player of the Week on Monday, added some insurance with his 22nd homer of the season.
It wasn’t clean in the ninth inning as the Mets loaded the bases against Pedro Strop and Justin Wilson. But Jesse Chavez kept New York from pulling off the rally on a night where the offenses, not the pitchers, ruled the night.