Lester's first Cubs win a 'big day'

After uneven start to season, lefty tosses seven scoreless against Crew

Lester's first Cubs win a 'big day'

CHICAGO -- David Ross could tell that Jon Lester had found his groove again on Friday. The left-hander's pitches were crisper, there was a little more velocity on his fastball and his curve was effective.

"I thought he was back to being the Jon that I know and the guy I'm used to, so that's good for the Cubs," said Ross, who was behind the plate for Lester's first win in a Cubs uniform, a 1-0 decision Friday over the Brewers.

Lester scattered three hits over seven innings in his longest outing of the season. In one stretch, he retired 15 of 16 batters, including the last 10.

"This is a big day for me, personally," Lester said. "It always goes back to your first start in Spring Training, your first start of the season, get that first 'W.' Obviously, I would've liked to have had it happen a little while ago, but that's not the case. Today's a big day. We'll celebrate this, have some fun with it, and tomorrow, back to work."

With the outing, Lester lowered his ERA from 6.23 to 4.71. The 6.23 ERA in the first month was a career worst for the left-hander, and it was not what the Cubs expected when they signed him to a six-year contract. Milwaukee's Ryan Braun knows the numbers can be misleading.

"That guy [Lester] has a track record of being one the best pitchers in baseball, and regardless of what his numbers are right now, you know somehow, some way, he'll end up somewhere close to where he typically is," Braun said. "He's got great stuff. Great pitcher."

Lester's huge contract adds some pressure with each performance.

"I envy [Lester's] bank account, and not the expectations that come along with that," Ross said. "It's human nature, and you want to go out there and prove every last penny of that. As a catcher, I'm excited about what I saw today."

Extra bases

• Lester is still getting used to the postgame partying in the Cubs' clubhouse after a win that includes loud music, lots of lights and a disco ball.

"It's fun, especially for us older guys," Lester said. "I've never been around anything like it. I think it's a thing [bench coach Dave Martinez] and Joe [Maddon] bring over from Tampa. People don't realize it's hard to win a game in the big leagues. You should celebrate it, regardless of how pretty it looks or how ugly it is.

"I hate to use the cliche that it might be your last, but it really could be," Lester said. "Something could happen. What I like from the young guys is they're able to separate it -- have their fun, enjoy the win. Tomorrow's a new day, and you show up and do it all over again."

• Maddon continued his "Respect Community" campaign and wore a red T-shirt supporting Misericordia. Each home Friday, Maddon plans on wearing a different T-shirt to recognize a cause connected with Cubs Charities. Best of all, the Misericordia folks brought some baked goods from their bakery in the Rogers Park neighborhood.

• The Cubs' 1-0 win over the Brewers on Friday was their first win by that score since Sept. 15, 2014, against the Reds. The Cubs are five games over .500 for the second time this season.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.