After giving up five earned runs in his first 38 2/3 laps of the season, the Cubs' left-wing mastermind, Jon Lester, ended quickly on Saturday night.
Lester scored five points in four innings and one-third against the Nationals, who retained their 5-2 win at Nationals Park.
The Cubs, however, played the game under protest. US coach Joe Maddon said Sean Doolittle, of the National closest to the National, hit the right foot before lifting and throwing. Carl reliever Carl Edwards Jr. was informed in the first week of the season that the move was illegal after using it for spring training.
Lester, who had not allowed a deserved run since April 25 against the Dodgers, gave way to Brian Dozier to score the second goal. In the third, the first six batters reached the base, with Juan Soto limiting the Nationals three-run rally by one double.
Lester almost got caught in the fifth inning, but he stayed in the match until he allowed a mere RBI to Soto and was replaced by Carl Edwards Jr. launched more than two sleeves on April 8 against the Pirates before going out with a tense hamstring.
Lester's EER increased from 1.16 to 2.09.
"I just could not repeat my mechanics," said Lester. "I could not repeat the throws. I would do one good, then three bad. It was as if I had made a good one, they had taken it off. For the most part, I found too many barrels. Even the outs were hit hard.
Meanwhile, right-handed Nationals Stephen Strasburg launched eight four-ball runs. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez were a 0-9 combined against Strasbourg. Baez has pioneered in third place twice and was eliminated while his best career streak ended at 15 straight games.
Strasburg pulled out the first nine batters before Kyle Schwarber led the fourth with a single.
The Cubs have not managed to maximize an exchange in the fifth. With runners in first and second, Yan Gomes, the Nationals coach, was loaded with a past ball, followed by Strasburg with a wild pitch to score Jason Heyward.
The stray Strasburg pitch gets closer to the third goal canoe, tempting Addison Russell to try to score on second base. But Russell was thrown to the plate for the final.
David Bote, who was at the plate when Russell was nailed, led the sixth with a home run. The Bote circuit recorded a 5-to-35 drop including 15 strikeouts.
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