CHICAGO (AP) — Jon Lester recovered from a rut of bad starts, pitching six shutout innings that led the Chicago Cubs over the Seattle Mariners 12-1 Friday for their third straight win.
Jason Heyward and David Ross homered as the NL Central leaders improved to 10-5 since a 1-9 slump.
Seattle lost in its first trip to Wrigley Field since 2007. The Mariners let infielder Luis Sardinas pitch the eighth, and he threw a perfect inning.
Lester (11-4) had lasted just 16 innings over his previous four starts, going 1-1 with a 10.13 ERA. That skid came after he had gone 9-3 with a 2.03 ERA in his first 16 starts.
Lester gave up four hits, struck out seven and walked two. He was already done when there was a 74-minute rain delay in the seventh.
Mike Montgomery, traded last week from Seattle to the Cubs, pitched the final two innings. He gave up a single to Shawn O’Malley in the ninth for the Mariners’ run.
Hisashi Iwakuma (11-7) had won his last five starts, but gave up five runs and eight hits in three innings.
The Cubs already led 5-0 when they scored six times in the sixth inning, with Anthony Rizzo hitting a three-run double.
Heyward hit his first homer since June 11 and drove in three runs. He had been just 5 for 45 in his last 13 games.
Kris Bryant reached base all five times he came up for the Cubs. He singled twice, doubled and walked twice.
Sardinas, who played for Texas and Milwaukee the past two seasons, moved from first base to the mound and retired the Cubs on eight pitches.
UPS AND DOWNS
The Cubs activated OF Chris Coghlan (ribs) off the disabled list and optioned infielder Tommy La Stella to Triple-A Iowa.
La Stella, who was hitting .295 in 105 at-bats with a .388 on-base percentage, didn’t take the news well, according to Cubs manager Joe Maddon.
“And he shouldn’t take it well,” Maddon said. “Honestly, it’s just an unusual moment we’re in right now where we have so many guys. This is definitely an advocacy for a 27- or 28-man roster.”
La Stella had options remaining, which left him vulnerable in a crowded infield. Coghlan started in LF and the leadoff spot and opened the scoring with a two-run single in the second.
Seattle’s Guillermo Heredia made his major league debut when he went to right field in the seventh. He struck out in the eighth. The Mariners recalled him from Triple-A Tacoma before the game and optioned LHP David Rollins.
This was 21,000th game in franchise history for the Cubs.
Mariners: RF Nelson Cruz returned to the lineup after fouling a ball off his shin Tuesday. He went 0 for 2 with a walk.
Cubs: CF Dexter Fowler still has some soreness, manager Joe Maddon said, so Heyward played center instead of right. Ben Zobrist started in right field for the second straight game.
Mariners: It’s been a streaky season for LHP Wade Miley (6-8, 5.23). He lost his first two decisions, won his next six and has lost his last six starts.
Cubs: Jake Arrieta (12-4, 2.76) is 0-2 with a 5.55 ERA in four July starts. He has allowed 20 earned runs over his last five starts after giving up 19 over his first 15 starts.