Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester pitched well enough to win, but came out on the short end of a 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the National League Division Series Friday night.
Lester gave up three runs on five hits in 7 1/3 inning, striking out nine and walking one. But that wasn’t enough against Lester’s former Boston Red Sox teammate John Lackey, who threw 7 1/3 shutout innings for the Redbirds.
“Both Johns pitched really, really well tonight,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “It was just an outstanding performance from both guys. ...
“We could not get anything generated. They (the Cardinals) pitched really well all season. That’s a big reason why they won 100 games ... they’ve pitched so well.”
Lester gave up a first-inning run on Matt Holliday’s RBI single following Stephen Piscotty’s double. Lester allowed two more runs in a three-run eighth, including Tommy Pham’s leadoff homer that inning.
Game 2 starter lauds Cardinals
Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks said Friday he’ll have to be on top of his game when he faces the Cardinals’ lineup in Game 2 at 4:37 p.m. Saturday.
“I mean, they’re the best team in baseball, right?” Hendricks said Friday. “They have the most wins, really good lineup, experienced lineup. They put together an unbelievable plan. They know how to attack whatever pitcher they're facing that day, so when you're facing these guys, you've got to be thinking when you're on the mound.
“You gotta be in tune with the game, in tune with what they're trying to do, the at-bats they're putting together against you and make in-game adjustments.”
Hendricks carries a 12-inning scoreless streak into the start Saturday afternoon, pitching six shutout innings in each of his last two regular-season starts. He wound the year 8-7 with a 3.95 ERA in 32 starts.
“I felt a lot better in my last two starts, was finally getting the ball down with some angle,” said Hendricks, 25. “So I'm just trying to build off that, stay in that same zone, stay in my lane and just make good pitches tomorrow.”
Maddon, ex-Cardinals fan
Maddon grew up a Cardinals fan in Pennsylvania — he would lie on the floor during summer nights and listen to Harry Caray and Jack Buck doing the games on KMOX — but he said this week he’s left all that behind.
“You know, there’s still that part of me that (is a fan) — I just walked by the ’64 photograph and almost named everybody, almost,” Maddon said after walking through a Busch Stadium hallway under the stands. “When Scott (Spiezio) came to the Angels several years ago, I wanted to meet his dad. That's who I wanted to meet was Eddie Spiezio. Phil Gagliano, those kind of guys, Jerry Buchek.
“... When you're a Cub, though, you can’t necessarily be a Cardinal fan. But I have a lot of respect for the organization, always have. Timmy McCarver and I are good buddies. Always have been. I love Mike Shannon. The whole group (is) tremendous. I’m a big Branch Rickey guy. But right now I’m a Cub and hopefully will be a Cub for a long time.”