CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo hit consecutive home runs in the first inning to back Jon Lester and lift the Cubs to a 4-3 victory Monday night over the National League East-leading Mets.
Lester picked up his third straight win, scattering five hits, including back-to-back home runs by Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores in the sixth. The lefty, who struck out six, now has given up four earned runs over 20 innings in his last three outings.
Mets starter Jacob deGrom served up both blasts by Bryant and Rizzo. Bryant's homer, his first at Wrigley Field and second of his young Major League career, landed in the left-field bleachers, which were open for the first time this season. The seats may be new but the tradition of throwing back opponents' homers is not, and fans tossed back both Duda's and Flores' blasts in the sixth.
"That was a blast," Cubs catcher David Ross said about having fans back in the bleachers. "It felt like a little bit of a playoff atmosphere. It was a good atmosphere out there and a lot of fun. More >
"You forget about throwing the ball back when they hit homers, and I saw that as a home player for once. All of that and we got a 'W.'"
Bleacher fans wore pink T-shirts as part of Major League Baseball's Mother's Day and breast cancer awareness recognition at the ballpark.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Welcome back: Monday marked the debut of the left- and center-field bleachers at Wrigley Field, and Bryant didn't waste any time christening the new seats in left. Dexter Fowler was hit by a pitch to lead off the Cubs' first and Bryant followed with his home run, hitting a 2-1 pitch from deGrom. Rizzo followed with his seventh homer, but it landed in the still unfinished right-field bleachers, which are expected to be open by June. It's the second time the Cubs have hit back-to-back homers this season; Chris Coghlan and Mike Olt did so on April 11 against the Rockies. More >
"I'm sure everyone's excited about that," Rizzo said of the homers. "We talk about it. It's really nice for him to get that monkey off his back here at Wrigley."
Back-to-back comeback: Trailing throughout the early innings, the Mets clawed back within a run when Duda and Flores launched back-to-back homers off Lester in the sixth. Neither player had homered since Duda last went deep on April 25.
Penmanship: The Cubs needed Lester to go long to give the overworked bullpen a breather, and he lasted six innings in his third straight quality start. It's the first time he's served up back-to-back home runs since Sept. 3 last year against the Mariners, when Kyle Seager and Corey Hart connected in the seventh. Monday marked Lester's second start ever against the Mets, with the only other one coming back when he was a 22-year-old rookie making his fourth start of his career on June 27, 2006.
Lester noticed the fans in the bleachers when he was warming up.
"You get people out there and they're pumped and excited to be there," Lester said. "The more people you get in the stadium, it makes it that much more of a home-field advantage for us."
Cubs flash some leather: Seemingly each time the Mets threatened, particularly late in the game, the Cubs came up with a key defensive play to stop them in their tracks. After Michael Cuddyer singled to lead off the eighth inning, for example, Duda lined into an unassisted double play by Rizzo. Then after Curtis Granderson walked to lead off the ninth, Dilson Herrera hit a line drive up the middle that Starlin Castro ranged to his left to snare.
"We hit some balls hard," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We've got to keep doing that. Eventually, they'll fall in."
"I think Jon's just fine. I see him getting better every time out. You always like to have people peak at the appropriate moment. ... Give him a little bit more time as he builds into this thing. I like what I'm seeing." -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon, on Lester More >
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For the third time in seven starts this season, deGrom was unable to complete six innings. During last year's Rookie of the Year campaign, he contributed at least six innings in all but four of his 22 starts. More >
The Mets caught a break in the bottom of the fourth inning, after Coghlan led off with a single. The next batter, Ross, bunted back to the mound, where deGrom fielded it and threw to first. First-base umpire Jerry Meals initially ruled Ross safe, but the Mets won their challenge after a 40-second review. The official result was a sacrifice bunt, changing the complexion of the inning.
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: Top prospect Noah Syndergaard will debut in Tuesday's 8:05 p.m. ET game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The No. 11 prospect in baseball, Syndergaard is taking the rotation spot of Dillon Gee, who went on the disabled list last week with a groin injury.
Cubs:Jake Arrieta will try to get back on track on Tuesday in the second game of the Cubs' four-game series vs. the Mets at Wrigley Field. He's given up nine runs over 10 1/3 innings in his last two starts after allowing six runs over 26 2/3 innings in his first four, which were all quality starts. First pitch will be 7:05 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field.