Lester gets 1st win with Cubs in 1-0 victory over Brewers
CHICAGO (AP) Jon Lester was glad to finally get his first win with the Cubs.
Lester pitched seven scoreless innings and Addison Russell hit his first career home run in Chicago's 1-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.
Lester (1-2) allowed just three hits, struck out four and walked one in his best outing of the season. The left-hander, signed to a six-year, $155 million contract in the offseason, received a standing ovation when he was lifted in the top of the eighth inning.
''This is a big day for me personally,'' Lester said. ''I think it always goes back to your first start in spring training, your first start of the season, get that first `W.' Obviously you would have liked it to happen a little while ago, but that's not the case. Today is a big day. We'll celebrate this. Have some fun with it, but tomorrow back to work and look forward to the next one.''
Cubs manager Joe Maddon decided to go with reliever Pedro Strop to face switch-hitter Elian Herrera.
Strop pitched a perfect eighth inning and Hector Rondon pitched the ninth for his fifth save in six chances.
After a two-out double to Jason Rogers, Rondon retired pinch-hitter Adam Lind to end the game.
Lester retired 15 of the final 16 batters he faced and picked up his first win since last Sept. 19 against Philadelphia while pitching for Oakland.
''He keeps on getting better. He is going to keep on getting better, too,'' Maddon said.
Brewers starter Wily Peralta (0-4) allowed one run and eight hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked two while throwing 118 pitches.
''He's battling too hard for his stuff,'' Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. ''He's doing a great job because he doesn't have his good command and he keeps us in ballgames. You look at his outing today and he gives up one run and it's a real nice job, but he's working way too hard to get to that.
''When he's on his game, the pitch count is going to be way low and we'll be able to get him into the seventh, eighth (innings) and once in a while he goes nine.''
The Brewers have lost 13 of their past 16 games.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the second inning, Lester struck out Peralta to get out of a jam.
Leading off the third, Russell drove Peralta's 3-2 pitch into the unfinished left-center bleachers. Russell was acquired by the Cubs last season when the Cubs dealt Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics in exchange for the touted prospect.
''It feels good and it made it even more special because I'm home at Wrigley. Fans jumping up and down and hearing the crowd roar like that is an awesome feeling,'' Russell said.
Brewers: OF Carlos Gomez is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday. He's been out with a strained right hamstring since April 16. ... 2B Scooter Gennett begins a rehab assignment with Class A Wisconsin on Friday night. He's on the disabled list with a left hand laceration. ... 3B Aramis Ramirez missed the game with left hamstring tightness. He is day to day.
In the first inning with no outs, Dexter Fowler was thrown out trying to go from first to third on Jorge Soler's single. Then the inning ended when Anthony Rizzo was caught stealing on Kris Bryant's strikeout. In the sixth, Starlin Castro tried to go first to third on a single, but he was thrown out by right fielder Ryan Braun.
THEY SAID IT
Maddon was asked what was his first reaction to Russell's home run and he responded, ''Who is going to hit it first? Him or Bryant.'' Bryant is still looking for his first homer.
Brewers: Mike Fiers (0-3, 5.79 ERA) was 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts against the Cubs last season.
Cubs: Jake Arietta (3-1, 2.03 ERA) has been the most dependable starter for Cubs.