CINCINNATI (AP) — Anthony Rizzo homered for the third consecutive game on Friday night, and Jon Lester gave a fitting follow-up to Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter by going seven innings and leading the Chicago Cubs to an 8-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
The Cubs improved to 13-4, the best record in the majors and one of the best starts in the last 100 years. They also opened 13-4 in 1908 — the last time they won the World Series — and in 1970. The 1907 team went 14-3 on its way to a Series title.
Arrieta threw his second career no-hitter in the series opener on Thursday night, a 16-0 win. Lester (2-1) limited the Reds to five hits, including Zack Cozart’s solo homer, and one walk.
Rizzo had a three-run homer during the series opener. He hit a solo shot — his team-high sixth — off Jon Moscot (0-1) as the Cubs pulled ahead 4-0 in the fourth inning. They are 12-0 this season when scoring at least four runs. David Ross had a sacrifice fly, and Ross and Lester squeezed home runs with sacrifice bunts.
The Cubs put it away with four runs in the ninth off J.J. Hoover. Javier Baez hit a solo homer — the 16th allowed by Cincinnati’s bullpen in 17 games — and the Cubs hit three consecutive RBI doubles.
The Cubs have won their last eight games overall against the Reds. They’ve taken six straight in Cincinnati, their longest such streak since 1945-46.
Cincinnati managed to hit only six balls out of the infield during Arrieta’s no-hitter. They got their first hit in the series in the first inning off Lester when Joey Votto snapped his 0-for-19 slump with a single. They failed to get a runner to third base against until Cozart led off the sixth inning with his first homer.
Chicago is 18-2 on the road since the end of last season, including 9-2 this year.
Cubs fans bristled that their “Try Not To Suck” T-shirts weren’t allowed at Busch Stadium this week because of the Cardinals’ long-standing policy prohibiting shirts with the word. Cubs manager Joe Maddon came up with the slogan and designed the shirt to raise money for his foundation. The dust-up resulted in a spike in sales of the $30 shirts, with $56,000 raised in the last two days. That puts the season total over $500,000 from shirt sales.
Reds: CF Billy Hamilton missed a second straight game with a sore left thumb, injured while trying to make a catch at the wall in St. Louis last weekend.
Cubs: John Lackey tries to open a season 4-0 for the first time in his career. He threw seven innings at St. Louis for a 5-0 win on Monday.
Reds: Dan Straily (0-0) makes his first appearance and second career start. He opened the season in the bullpen but was moved into the injury-depleted rotation.
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