Jon Lester got 26 outs before allowing a run Monday afternoon, but it was that final out that eluded him.
In the midst of a tense 1-0 game, Lester let up a two-out, RBI single to Cleveland Indians cleanup hitter Carlos Santana before the Cubs walked it off in the bottom of the ninth for a 2-1 win in front of 36,283 fans at Wrigley Field.
Kris Bryant drilled the first pitch he saw from Indians reliever Zach McAllister into the right-field bleachers for a two-out, walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth after Chris Coghlan and Anthony Rizzo had struck out to begin the frame.
The Cubs lead the majors with 12 walk-off wins this season.
"We believe in ourselves. It's someone new every day," Bryant said. "That's just the way it's been going this year. We're riding the wave and it's a good one."
Lester admitted it's easy to forget Bryant - who also hit two homers in Sunday's win - is a rookie at times.
"He plays above his age and experience," Lester said. "I think that's kinda what's expected of him. These young guys that have come up have all played above where they're at as far as their level of age and experience.
"That's a testament to how this organization raises these guys in the minor leagues."
After allowing three homers and seven runs in just 2.2 innings against the Detroit Tigers in his last start, Lester let up just one run in 8.2 innings Monday, permitting only six singles. He kept the ball on the ground all day and the Cubs defense turned four double plays behind him.
But it wasn't good enough to win as Indians ace and reigning American League Cy Young winner Corey Kluber held the Cubs offense in check with one run on four hits, striking out 11 in 7.2 innings.
Kluber took a perfect game into the sixth inning until he allowed a David Ross one-out single.
The win was the Cubs' fifth straight and 20th since July 29, which leads Major League Baseball.
"Guys are just confident," Lester said. "Guys are happy to be here, having fun, messing around. Today was a grind, but guys are still having fun in the dugout. It's been fun to see."
Case in point:
Another sweep lol #WeAreGood
— miguel montero (@miggymont26) August 24, 2015
With the San Francisco Giants off Monday, the Cubs extended their lead for the second wild card to 6.5 games with the victory.
The Cubs took advantage of an extended stay in Chicago (19 days, 17 games), going 14-3 during their stretch in the Windy City which included 14 games at home and three on the South Side.
The Cubs now embark on a tough West Coast road trip, beginning with a showdown against the Giants Tuesday night.
[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]
Even though they've been on a hot streak and the postseason seems so close, the Cubs know they have to stay grounded.
"We gotta worry about now," Lester said, "and not worry about wild card or the division or any other type of series right now. We have to worry about the task at hand."
Echoed Bryant: "It's just the same mindset we've had this past month. We've been feeling really good and I think we can't change anything.
"We dont need to think differently or play differently, just go out and do what we've been doing and things will take care of themselves."