SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jon Lester had another strong outing and his teammates powered their way to another win.
Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Jason Heyward all homered to back Lester as the Chicago Cubs beat the San Diego Padres, 5-1, on Monday night.
Lester (14-4) limited the Padres to a run and five hits in six innings. He struck out eight and walked two in winning for the 10th time in his last 11 decisions. The left-hander improved to 5-0 with six quality starts out of seven since the All-Star break.
“Game after game after game you kind of know what to expect from him right now,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “He had really good stuff tonight.”
Lester was making his first regular-season appearance at Petco Park, the last active ballpark where he hadn’t yet started.
“I just try to go pitch and do a good job,” he said. “That’s all I worry about. The main number for me that I’m always concerned about is 200 innings. If that’s there, then all the other stuff is kind of gravy.”
Bryant’s solo shot in the fifth inning was his 32nd of the year, tying him with Colorado’s Nolan Arenado for the National League lead.
Russell added his third home run in two days, and the struggling Heyward — recently benched to rest mentally — got his first since July 29.
“It was great for Jason to be able to do that,” Cubs manager Joe Madden said. “Those are the kinds of things that can get his confidence going again and going in the right direction.”
Anthony Rizzo had four hits to tie a career-high for the NL Central-leading Cubs, who have won six of their last eight games and 20 of 25.
Edwin Jackson (3-4) gave up five runs and seven hits in five innings. The right-hander struck out two and walked four, one intentionally, as he snapped a three-start winning streak.
“It just wasn’t a great job by me,” Jackson said.
The Padres, who have lost seven of nine, had only one runner reach third base in the opening five innings.
Lester was lifted at 100 pitches after Alex Dickerson and Christian Bethancourt opened the seventh with singles. Justin Grimm, the first of three relievers, came on and allowed a run on a wild pitch when striking out Ryan Schimpf.
San Diego’s only other threat was in the sixth, as Brett Wallace advanced to third on a one-out single and two-base error by Heyward in right when he overran the ball. But Lester struck out Travis Jankowski looking and, after a walk to Alexei Ramirez, struck out Wil Myers with a devastating curveball.
Chicago pulled away with a three-run fifth, which featured two home runs. Bryant led off with arching shot into the left-center field seats. After Rizzo’s double, Heyward hit his long fly for a 5-0 advantage.
“That was the one that really hurt, that two-run homer,” Jackson said. “That kind of put a damper on things.”
The Cubs forged ahead 2-0 in the third as Jackson struggled with his command. Rizzo singled in between walks to Dexter Fowler and Ben Zobrist. That set up Russell’s sacrifice fly for his second RBI in two innings.
“You can’t fall behind, especially against a team like this,” Jackson said.
Russell slugged Jackson’s 86-mph slider for a home run in the second, his third solo blast in two days for a 1-0 edge.
“That was a horrible pitch to Russell,” Jackson said. “He should have hit that one out.”
The other two pitches hit for homers weren’t bad, just not good enough against the powerful Cubs.
“That is a difficult lineup to navigate,” Padres manager Andy Green said.
Padres: OF Jabari Blash was placed on the disabled list with a sprained left finger.
Cubs: RHP Jake Arrieta (15-5, 2.75 ERA) prevailed in his last outing on Thursday against Arizona, but he wasn’t sharp. Arrieta, who has nine road wins, had a career-high seven walks and allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Padres: LHP Christian Friedrich (4-9, 4.69 ERA) looks to snap a three-start losing streak as he has dropped seven of his past nine outings. He was effective on Wednesday against Tampa Bay, working 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball.
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