By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — If you were waiting for Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber’s home run to land, it may not have yet.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Illinois: Officials Report 1,249 New COVID-19 Cases, Including 22 Additional Deaths
Schwarber’s 470-foot blast off Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto in the first inning was the first hit onto Sheffield Avenue since the bleacher restoration of 2015, and it was one of three homers hit by the surging Cubs offense in a 4-1 win at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night.
The home run barrage was all that ace left-hander Jon Lester needed, as he recorded his team’s first complete game of the season. Lester was as dominant as he’s ever been as a Cub, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out 10 without walking a batter.
“There is always that gratification to go out and finish a game, walk off and shake everybody’s hand as they come off of the field,” Lester said. “They were aggressive, and we were able to move the ball around. I was glad about the no-walks thing. There had been too many walks for me. That is what I was harping on in my bullpen work as far as fastball command.”
Lester is the land baron of Wrigley Field, having improved to 12-0 in his last 16 home starts. That’s the longest winning streak by a pitcher at Wrigley Field since Jon Lieber won 13 straight from 2001-’02.READ MORE: Saint Sabina Plans To Withhold Monthly Assessments From Archdiocese Of Chicago Until Conclusion Of Investigation In Father Michael Pfeger
“He just kept getting better,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Lester. “That was classic stuff by him. There was one inning when they hit three or four balls hard. After he got (Buster) Posey on a changeup, everything just seemed to settle back in for him. A great performance by him. We hit those homers. I was very pleased.”
The Cubs are now 14-4 when they hit two or more home runs in a game, and they also moved to 19-8 when scoring four or more runs. Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward joined Schwarber in homering Tuesday.
“It is not often that he does that,” Heyward said of Cueto allowing three homers. “That is how good he is even when he is not at his best. He can keep you off balance and make pitches, throw a lot of stuff that just looks the same. It was huge for us to pick up where we left off.”
Heyward was referring to the Cubs’ four-run eighth inning in a 6-4 loss on Monday that got them back into the game after trailing 6-0 earlier. That indeed continued, highlighted by Schwarber’s 470-foot blast being the third-longest measured at Wrigley Field since Statcast began tracking homers. Kris Bryant’s 495-foot homer is the longest.
“You know when you get jammed and you know when you hit the ball off of the end of the bat,” Schwarber said. “You also know when you hit all barrel because you don’t feel anything. That was good feeling today and a good team win.”MORE NEWS: Chicago Culture Celebrates The City While Giving Back To Youth For Black History Month
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.