Cubs pound out 17 runs on 16 hits to beat Mets

Sports Xchange

September 13, 2017 at 9:20 pm.

CHICAGO — Left-hander Jon Lester improved to 3-0 since returning from disabled list with a steady six-inning outing as the Chicago Cubs beat the New York Mets 17-5 on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.

Lester (11-7) allowed two runs on six hits in his 29th start of the season and third September appearance.

He received ample offensive support.

Albert Almora Jr. came off the bench to hit a three-run homer and a three-run triple. Javier Baez went 4-for-5 including a home run, Kris Bryant was 3-for-5, and Ben Zobrist, Willson Contreras and Rene Rivera each had two hits in a 16-hit attack for the Cubs (79-66).

Mets starter Matt Harvey (5-5) gave up five runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings. He slipped to 1-2 since an Aug. 27 return from the disabled list.

Amed Rosario went 3-for-4 while Travis Taijeron and Jose Reyes each had two hits — including Reyes’ first-inning homer — for New York (63-82).

Chicago led 5-2 after four innings and Happ made it 6-2 in the sixth when he reached on an error by Mets third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera while Bryant scored from third.

The Cubs added four runs in the seventh.

Baez launched a Chasen Bradford 2-0 pitch into the left field basket to for a solo home run — his 22nd of the season — for a 7-2 Chicago lead. Almora belted a three-run homer off right-handed reliever Kevin McGowan, driving in Rivera and Zobrist.

New York’s Dominic Smith clubbed his sixth homer of the season — a three-run shot off Justin Grimm with one out in the eighth — to trim the lead to 10-5.

Rivera’s one-out double in the eighth off Jacob Rhame plated Jason Heyward and Baez for a 12-5 lead. The Cubs loaded the bases and Jamie Callahan, the Mets’ sixth pitcher, walked Anthony Rizzo to bring home Rivera.

Almora’s bases-clearing triple then scored Zobrist, Bryant and Rizzo to make it 16-5. Almora came home on pinch hitter Jon Jay’s groundout to short.

Reyes’ leadoff homer on a 3-2 pitch gave the Mets a 1-0 lead in the first inning. The game-opening shot off Lester landed five rows into the left field bleachers for his 13th of the season.

The Cubs loaded the bases in the bottom of the first and scored two runs. Contreras’ fielder’s choice grounder to first scored Zobrist from third. Happ then grounded out to second as Bryant came home for a 2-1 lead.

New York tied the game at 2-2 in the second as Rosario reached on an infield single and moved to third thanks to back-to-back hits. He scored on Harvey’s sacrifice.

Chicago produced a three-run fourth, loading the bases with none out as Harvey departed for right-hander Hansel Robles.

Robles walked Rizzo, forcing in Baez from third for a 3-2 lead. Contreras then lined a sharp single to left to drive in Zobrist and Bryant for a 5-2 edge.

NOTES: An official scorer’s ruling that 2B Jose Reyes was caught stealing in the seventh inning of the Mets’ 8-3 loss to the Cubs on Wednesday was changed to a straight pick-off and out. … Reyes’s first inning home run tied Darryl Strawberry (469) for second-most career extra-base hits in Mets history. … New York has produced hit a franchise-record 114 homers on the road and leads the NL with 209. … The Chicago Cubs named C Victor Caratini (.342, 10 homers, 61 RBI at Triple-A Iowa) and RHP Jen-Ho Tseng (13-4, 2.54 ERA at Triple-A Iowa) as the organization’s minor league player and pitcher of the year, respectively. … Tseng is scheduled to start Thursday’s series finale against Mets RHP Seth Lugo (6-4, 4.64 ERA). … The Cubs said they plan to move Thursdays original starter — LHP Mike Montgomery — back to the bullpen.