Jon Lester bounced back from his worst start of the season with six strong innings and the Cubs scored the go-ahead run in the eighth on Arizona shortstop Nick Ahmed's throwing error as Chicago edged the Diamondbacks 2-1 on Wednesday.
Chicago mounted the winning rally against Arizona reliever T.J. McFarland (2-2) without getting a ball out of the infield. Pinch-hitter Javier Baez led off the eighth by squibbing a single toward the mound. McFarland threw wide of first, and Baez advanced to second.
After pitcher Tyler Chatwood ran for Baez, who didn't start because of a sore left knee, and Ian Happ walked, pinch-hitter Jason Heyward bounced to second baseman Ketel Marte. Marte flipped to Ahmed for a force at second, but Ahmed's throw to first sailed over Paul Goldschmidt as he tried to complete a double play.
Reliever Carl Edwards Jr. (3-1) pitched a hitless seventh and eighth. Pedro Strop tossed a scoreless ninth for his fourth save in seven chances as NL Central leading Chicago bounced back after losses to Arizona in the first two games of the four-game series.
Ben Zobrist singled in Albert Almora Jr. to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the fourth.
A.J. Pollock hit a solo shot off Lester to lead off the seventh to tie it at 1.
Lester allowed one run on four hits while striking out seven and walking none in six-plus innings, but was matched by a strong outing by Robbie Ray. Arizona's left-hander went seven innings, also yielding four hits while fanning six and walking one. Ray was efficient, shaking off a funk that left him 0-2 with a 7.65 ERA in his last four starts.
Lester rebounded from his shortest and worst start of the season, last Friday against St. Louis when he allowed a season-high eight runs in the first three innings of the Cardinals' 18-5 rout. Even with the lopsided loss to St. Louis, Lester is 9-1 in his last 11 starts.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant didn't start for the second straight day with a recurrence of the left shoulder inflammation that caused the slugger to miss 16 games. Manager Joe Maddon said Bryant's injury requires rest, and the two-time All-Star is out day-to-day.
Baez's suffered his bruised knee when Arizona's Steven Souza Jr. slid hard into the All-Star at second in the seventh inning of the Diamondbacks' 5-1 win on Tuesday night.
Arizona RHP Zack Godley (11-6, 4.65) faces Chicago RHP Tyler Chatwood (4-5, 4.84) in the finale of the four-game series this afternoon. Chatwood leads the majors with 79 walks.