David Ross remembered an old saying former Cubs pitchers Jon Lester and John Lackey used to share.
“‘Never lost with 12 runs and air-tight defense,’” the Cubs manager recalled Tuesday.
That saying certainly still holds up for Lester, who helped the Nationals blow out the Marlins Monday night — with his arm and bat.
Lester, the former Cubs ace in his first season with Washington, tossed seven shutout innings against Miami. But he also came up big at the plate, crushing a two-run home run in the win over the Marlins.
Lester’s home run extended Washington’s lead to 12-0, and they added six runs from there in an 18-1 win. So, Ross reached out to his good friend and former battery mate for an update on that old saying.
“I texted him, ‘Jon, you ever lost with 18 and air-tight D?’” Ross said. “And his response was, ‘Still undefeated.’
“I texted him 'Nice homer.' That definitely made me chuckle [Monday] night.
The home run, Lester’s fourth in his career, traveled 419 feet. His first three came with the Cubs.
"That was a bomb," Ross said of Monday's home run. "He crushed that ball.”
Lester started his career 0-for-66 at the plate before tallying his first hit in July 2015, during his first season with the Cubs. But the lefty always had a good swing, Ross said.
“I’ve played some golf with him,” Ross said. “He’s a pretty athletic guy, but then you see he’s got real thunder in the bat. He’s got a pretty good stroke."
Ross then recalled another offensive highlight of Lester's career, when he delivered a pinch-hit, walk-off bunt against the Mariners in 2016. Lester made shirts to commemorate the moment.
"[The shirt] says, ‘Bunt to win,’ with his picture of him squeezing in the winning run," Ross said with a laugh.
“It’s always nice to see an old friend pitch well, and that was nice for him to get a win. When you give him 18, I know that had to be good for him.”