Doesn’t it feel good when you score in the first inning instead of your opponent. That’s what the Cubs did tonight. Almora, who was rumored to be in a package deal for a starting pitcher before the deadline, had a 2-run single to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning. Cubs starting pitchers have done a good job of not allowing any runs in the 1st inning. According to Christopher Kamka (@ckamka), the Cubs allowed 80 first inning runs in 88 games before the All-Star break. After the All-Star break, the Cubs have only allowed 1 first inning run in 17 games.
Ian Happ, another player who was in trade rumors, hit a lead off homer in the 2nd inning. In that same inning, Jon Lester singled and then scored on a Kris Bryant sac fly, giving the Cubs a 4-0 lead. That wasn’t the only noise that Jon Lester was going to make tonight. Stay tune for that later. Rizzo hit a homer in that same inning. Giving him 25 on the season. Rizzo became the 3rd lefty in Cubs franchise history to record four 25-homer campaigns.
All of this was put aside though because of one play. Something that most of us never expected to happen. Jon Lester sent a ball oppo and far! His first major league home run of his career! This comes after Victor Caratini hit his first career homer on Sunday. That wasn’t the only milestone for Lester tonight. Lester became the 25th lefty in MLB history to record 2,000 strikeouts. Jon Lester joined John Smoltz as the only pitcher since 1900 to hit a home run and record his 2,000th strikeout in the same game (Elias). Lester’s outing was cut short due to his pitch count. He didn’t make it out of the 5th inning. He was visibly upset due to the fact he wouldn’t be able to get the win.
The Cubs had a huge 6th inning. They scored 7 runs in the 6th inning. In order, Kris Bryant scored a run, Contreras brought in a pair, Albert Albora had a fielders choice RBI and Javier Baez joined the home run party with a 3-run homer. All of this in the 6th inning.
In the very next inning, Rizzo hit his 2nd home run of the night! The fifth home run of the game for the Cubs. If you’re keeping track, the Cubs lead 16-3 after 7 innings. This is their first time scoring 15 runs or more at Wrigley Field since 2010. All kinds of records were being set tonight.
The bullpen came in and did their job once again. The most impressive player that stuck out to me was Hector Rondon. He was hitting 98 MPH on the gun and was looking like 2015 Hector Rondon. If he can find that old Hector Rondon, this bullpen will be a top elite pen. Montgomery pitched 3 innings allowing only one run. The Cubs gave the Diamondbacks a beaten, winning with a final score of 16-4.
The Cubs improve to 14-3 since the All-Star break and 57-48 on the season. They maintain a 2.5 lead over the Brewers. Jake Arrieta will face off against Zack Godley in another 7:05 PM start tomorrow as they try to win the series.