CHICAGO (AP) — Jon Lester pitched 6 2/3 innings of no-hit ball and settled for his second complete game of the season, helping the sizzling Chicago Cubs beat the San Francisco Giants, 2-1, on Friday to move a season-high 40 games over .500.
Hunter Pence ended Lester’s bid for a second no-hitter with a homer to left on a 1-2 cutter. Brandon Crawford followed with a double, and Lester (15-4) got Eduardo Nunez to line to third and worked around Trevor Brown’s one-out double in the eighth.
Lester allowed three hits and walked two. The Cubs have won five straight to improve to 87-47.
David Ross and Dexter Fowler had RBI hits in the second off Albert Suarez (3-3).
Pence’s second homer in two days ended a 12 2/3-innings hitless streak for the San Francisco. The Giants are a major league-worst 15-29 since the All-Star break.
Lester walked Buster Posey with two outs in the first inning and followed by setting down 18 straight by getting some help.
Third baseman Kris Bryant made a diving, backhand grab of Crawford’s liner to lead off the fifth and Dexter Fowler made a sliding catch of Kelby Tomlinson’s liner in center an inning later.
The 32-year-old Lester threw a no-hitter on May 19, 2008, for Boston against Kansas City. That came less than two years after he was diagnosed with cancer.
Lester has recovered from lymphoma and has since been selected as an All-Star four times. This dominating performance came as players and umpires wore gold sweatbands to draw awareness to pediatric cancer.
The rookie Suarez, in his ninth start, allowed three hits with two walks and three strikeouts in five innings.
Lester struck out Crawford looking with a runner on first for his fourth strikeout to end it on his 102nd pitch.
Giants: C Trevor Brown (illness) started after being unavailable Thursday, allowing Buster Posey to play 1B. … RHP Matt Cain (back) was activated off the disabled list and became the 12th reliever thanks to expanded rosters.
Cubs: RHP John Lackey (shoulder) came out fine after a bullpen session and will start Sunday’s series finale. … Reliever Pedro Strop (knee) vowed to be back in mid-September after a setback with a strained groin during his rehab. … RHP Hector Rondon (triceps) is set to pitch Saturday and Monday for Triple-A Iowa.
Friday marked the eighth anniversary of Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo learning his Hodgkin’s lymphoma had gone into remission. “Obviously come a long way,” he said. “Done a lot of good things on the baseball field, but way more better things off the field.” Rizzo’s foundation has raised about $2 million to support families of children with cancer and pediatric cancer research.
A showdown of stars Saturday as Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta (16-5, 2.84 ERA) faces LHP Madison Bumgarner (13-8, 2.49). “It’ll be an interesting day, no question,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
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