Update (9:39 PM EST): It’s over. Pierzynski, leading off the eighth inning, ripped a single into right field, exacting revenge for getting hit with a pitch earlier in the game.
Update (9:27 PM EST): Lester struck out Markakis and Jonny Gomes consecutively, then got Chris Johnson to ground out to third base to get through the seventh inning without issue. On to the eighth. Lester is at 97 pitches.
Cubs starter Jon Lester can thank a friendly Turner Field scorer for his ongoing no-hit bid against the Braves on Saturday night in Atlanta. As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the official scorer changed a first-inning hit by Nick Markakis to an error on third baseman Kris Bryant.
Lester has hit a batter (A.J. Pierzynski) and issued a walk while striking out five in his six innings of work.
The Cubs have given Lester two runs of support on RBI singles by Anthony Rizzo in the third inning and by Starlin Castro in the fourth.
We’ll keep you posted as Lester goes into the final third of the game in an attempt to complete the no-hitter. If he’s able to complete it, it would be the second of his career. His first came on May 19, 2008 when he was a member of the Red Sox facing the Royals.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman had been expected to return from his right wrist contusion immediately after the All-Star break, but it’s not going to play out that way for the 25-year-old.
“It’s more serious than we expected,” Braves president of baseball operations John Hart told columnist Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday. “I’m hoping he’ll be back before the first of August but he may not be. He’s working hard to get back but it’s a slow-healing injury and it still gives him pain when he swings.”
Freeman has been on the disabled list since June 18 with the wrist injury — a bone bruise. He has already missed 23 games, and that number is probably going to climb much higher.
Kelly Johnson and Chris Johnson have been filling in at first base for the 42-47 Braves.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that, back in June, the Braves and Indians discussed a trade that would have swapped expensive veterans Chris Johnson and Nick Swisher. However, that was before Swisher hit the disabled list with a knee injury. Rosenthal adds that the Braves backed away from the trade due to the disparity in the players’ salaries, as Swisher is the more expensive of the two.
Johnson, 30, has struggled this season, hitting .252/.294/.333 with one home run and seven RBI in 119 plate appearances. He spent about a month on the disabled list between the ends of April and May due to a fracture and bone bruises in his left hand. He’s owed the remainder of $6 million for the 2015 season, plus $7.5 million in ’16, $9 million in ’17, and a $1 million buyout for ’18.
Swisher, 34, has hit worse, compiling a .198/.261/.297 batting line with two home runs and eight RBI in 111 plate appearances. The veteran is owed the remainder of $15 million this season plus $15 million in ’16 and a vesting option could be worth $14 million in ’17.