- Associated Press - Thursday, June 2, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - A.J. Ellis tipped his cap to Jon Lester. It was pretty much all the Dodgers catcher could do.

“To dominate the way he did, it’s probably a lot more about him than it is about us,” Ellis said.

Kike Hernandez hit a leadoff homer on Lester’s second pitch, but Los Angeles managed just three more hits in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.

The Cubs finished with three hits against Mike Bolsinger and two relievers after they had only one in Tuesday’s 5-0 loss to Los Angeles. But one of Chicago’s hits was a long, two-run homer by Kris Bryant in the third inning, and Lester (6-3) took over from there.

“He was down in the zone and pitching to both sides of the plate,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “If you look at the at-bats, we really didn’t square him up tonight.”

Lester struck out 10 and walked none. The veteran left-hander retired his last 15 batters and threw 113 pitches in his 13th career complete game and first this season.

“I really think that might have been the best I’ve seen Jonny since he’s been here,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

With two relievers standing on the mound in the bullpen, Lester retired Justin Turner and Corey Seager on grounders to shortstop before Howie Kendrick struck out swinging for the final out. It was Lester’s first complete game since a 2-1 win at Pittsburgh on Sept. 15.

“Just trying to pick up my load as far as my spot in the rotation and keep this train moving with these four other guys that are throwing the heck out of the ball right now,” said Lester, who signed a free-agent deal with Chicago in December 2014. “That’s the biggest thing is, just keep this line moving for the next guy.”

Bolsinger (1-2) fanned six in five innings. Pedro Baez followed with two hitless innings for Los Angeles, and Casey Fien allowed Jason Heyward’s two-out single in the eighth before whiffing Bryant for the last out of the inning.

One mistake in the third was enough to drop the Dodgers to 3-3 on their seven-game trip.

Dexter Fowler reached on a leadoff walk and Heyward lined out to right before Bryant drove a 1-0 pitch to the bushes in center for his team-best 12th homer, snapping a tie with Anthony Rizzo.

“I kind of lollipopped a curveball in there thinking I could get it by,” Bolsinger said. “Obviously, him being the great hitter that he is, he took care of it pretty well.”

The major league-leading Cubs (36-15) won for the seventh time in eight games and improved to 5-1 on their 10-game homestand.


Julio Urias will make his second start for Los Angeles in the finale of the four-game series on Thursday, giving Kenta Maeda an extra day of rest. The 19-year-old Urias, one of baseball’s top prospects, made his major league debut Friday at the New York Mets and allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings.

Maeda is being treated for swelling in his right hand after it was hit by a line drive in his most recent outing, but thinks he should be ready to start Friday against Atlanta.

“My hand feels good,” Maeda said through a translator. “It was a decision that the coaches made, to give me one more day.”


Dodgers: OF Yasiel Puig (left hamstring) was held out of the lineup for a second straight day and flied out as a pinch hitter in the eighth. “It really just didn’t loosen up and I didn’t want to put him in harm’s way,” Roberts said … LHP Alex Wood had an MRI that showed an elbow impingement requiring approximately four weeks of rest. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday.

Cubs: RHP Jason Hammel, who left his previous start with right hamstring cramping, threw a side session and remains on track to start Saturday against Arizona.


RHP Kyle Hendricks (3-4, 2.93 ERA) starts for Chicago on Thursday against Urias (0-0, 10.13 ERA). Hendricks pitched a five-hitter in a 4-1 victory over Philadelphia on Saturday.


Jay Cohen can be reached at https://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

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