Lester goes distance with 4-hitter, 10 K's

Lester goes distance with 4-hitter, 10 K's

CHICAGO -- Jon Lester heard the talk about Johnny Cueto. The Cubs left-hander wasn't leaving Wrigley Field without reminding everyone he's just as lethal.

"I'm not too shabby, right?" Lester joked after a 4-1 Cubs win Tuesday. "I've had a decent career."

The not-too-shabby ace dominated his start against the Giants, pitching the 15th complete game of his career.

Lester struck out 10 batters without allowing a count to even reach three balls. The Giants totaled four baserunners against the lefty with only one coming outside of the fifth inning.

Perhaps the most impressive part of his dominance, Lester became the first Cubs pitcher to throw a complete game in under 100 pitches since Sept. 25, 2009, when Carlos Zambrano did the same against the Giants.

"That's classic stuff. He just kept getting better," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "A real thoroughbred starting pitcher starts to feel it, and I think that's what was going on."

Lester on complete-game effort

And it all came on a day when it looked like Lester might not even get to pitch.

With rainfall starting in the afternoon and picking up about an hour before Lester's start, the grounds crew worked quickly to get the field ready for the outing. It was still drizzling by the time Lester stepped foot on the mound, but he wasn't concerned -- about that, at least.

"You've got to make sure you don't turn off," Lester said. "Obviously nobody wants to start in the rain, but I was glad they went ahead and started it."

Lester showed no signs of rust, striking out the side in the first inning and facing the minimum number of batters through four.

The Giants hitters attacked Lester, going after him early in the count and rallying for a run in the fifth. After surrendering the run, Lester began to show signs of frustration. He pinpointed his reaction to mistakes in one at-bat, when Brandon Crawford doubled off a cutter right over the middle of the plate to drive in the run.

"I think the thing that made me mad there was just the unexecuted pitch to Crawford," Lester said. "The first pitch was bad and and the second pitch was even worse."

He didn't make any more mistakes, though.

In fact, after Eduardo Nunez was caught stealing to make the second out of the fifth inning, the Giants didn't tally another baserunner. Lester returned for the ninth strong as ever and finished off the game with two more strikeouts for good measure.

"I think the complete game now is few and far between," Lester said. "There's always that gratification to go out there and finish it and walk off and shake everybody's hand as they go off the field."

Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.