Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Baseball Roundup: Pirates, Cubs Split Doubleheader

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Baseball Roundup: Pirates, Cubs Split Doubleheader

Article excerpt

Lester's complete game gets Cubs split

Jon Lester limited the Pittsburgh Pirates to five hits while picking up his first complete game of the season and the Chicago Cubs earned a doubleheader split with a 2-1 win Tuesday night.

The host Pirates took the first game 5-4 when Pedro Florimon scored on Starling Marte's sacrifice fly in the eighth, but they couldn't complete the sweep as the Cubs pulled back within four games of Pittsburgh for the top spot in the NL wild-card race.

Lester (10-10) walked one and struck out nine while picking up his 12th career complete game. David Ross and Javier Baez had two hits each for the Cubs.

J.A. Happ (9-8) had his five-game winning streak end. Happ pitched in and out of trouble, allowing two runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. Aramis Ramirez had two hits but Pittsburgh's rejiggered lineup mustered little against Lester.

Lester began the year as Chicago's de facto ace thanks to a $155- million contract he signed in the offseason. The lefthander has ceded his spot atop the rotation to the white-hot Jake Arrieta whose 19 wins are tops in the majors but Lester provided a needed reminder on why the Cubs made such a hefty investment.

Pittsburgh rested regulars Gregory Polanco, Pedro Alvarez and Jung Ho Kang against Lester, who took advantage by silencing the backups and watched Chicago's offense do just enough against the resurgent Happ.

The 32-year-old has been a revelation since being acquired from Seattle as an afterthought at the trade deadline. All Happ has done is help the Pirates survive in the competitive NL Central.

Nationals 4, Phillies 0 * Stephen Strasburg gave up one hit and tied a career-best with 14 strikeouts in eight dominant innings, Bryce Harper hit two homers and Washington beat Philadelphia.

Strasburg (9-7) allowed only a single to Cody Asche leading off the bottom of the fifth. He has 27 strikeouts in his past two starts. …

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