Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (5/17/21): Cubs 7, Nationals 3 – Cubs Spoil Lester’s Return, Offense Keeps Rolling
Adbert Alzolay took the mound tonight for the Chicago Cubs against a familiar face and old friend, Jon Lester. It was an emotional night seeing both Lester and Kyle Schwarber back in Wrigley wearing different uniforms. Both received standing ovations.
The Cubs wasted no time scoring against Lester when Anthony Rizzo plated Willson Contreras on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 1st inning. They added more runs in the 2nd thanks to a two-run blast by Jason Heyward, his fourth home run of the year.
Trae Turner‘s mammoth homer in the 3rd gave the visitors their first run of the night. However, in the bottom of the 3rd inning, Contreras restored the Cubs’ three-run advantage, taking Lester deep on the first pitch. Schwarber, joined the home run derby in the 4th, sending a two-run blast into the bleachers which brought the Nationals to within one.
Javier Báez gave the Cubs some insurance in the 6th with an oppo taco, making the score 5-3. Eric Sogard then added to the cushion in the 7th with an RBI base knock through the left side of the infield. The home team tacked on one more in the 8th with Heyward’s third RBI of the night.
Cubs pitcher Tommy Nance was impressive in his MLB debut, recording the final three outs as the Cubs win by the score of 7-3. (Box Score)
Why the Cubs Won
A solid performance from Alzolay, plenty of offense, and a stellar job by the bullpen accounted for tonight’s victory.
With the Cubs leading 6-3 in the 8th inning, the Nationals loaded the bases with two outs. Nico Hoerner made a phenomenal diving stop on a hard grounder by former Cub Starlin Castro, saving multiple runs and allowing his team to escape the jam with no damage done.
Stats That Matter
- Alzolay was effective and got the win: 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 0 BB
- The bullpen stepped up big: 4.0 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 5 K, 4 BB
- Nobody knows Lester better than Contreras, and he showed it: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, HR
- Heyward was solid: 2-for-4, 1 R, 3 RBI, HR
Going up against Jon Lester and Kyle Schwarber for the first time since they left Chicago is a game you just want the Cubs to win and move on from. They did just that.
Zach Davies (2-2, 5.60 ERA) squares off against Patrick Corbin (2-3, 6.19 ERA) in game two of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 CT on Marquee, 670 The Score, and WRTO for Spanish speakers. Those of you who’ve cut the cord can watch the game on fuboTV – you can check out a free trial of fuboTV here.