CHICAGO (AP) — Brett Anderson said he owes Albert Almora Jr. his paycheck from Thursday.
The center fielder said a high-five or a fist bump will do.
Anderson beat his former team with five solid innings, and Almora made two outstanding catches against the ivy as the Chicago Cubs blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0.
Anderson (1-0) won in his Wrigley Field debut for the Cubs. The lefty lowered his ERA to 0.84 through two starts with his new club.
Anderson, the only member of the Cubs without a World Series ring after Wednesday’s celebration, allowed three hits but walked four. He stranded seven runners, helped by Almora’s defense.
“Those are plays that you don’t expect to be made behind you and he made two web gems,” Anderson said. “You don’t ever want to have to have those guys make those plays behind you, but it was one of those days where it was a grind from pitch one.”
Almora went high and hard into the ivy to rob Corey Seager, the second batter of the game, of extra bases.
Kyle Schwarber tried to match him in the third inning, but his bobbled catch of Kiki Hernandez’s fly to deep left field was overturned after replay showed the ball hit the vines before he controlled it. The replay took 3 minutes, 55 seconds before it was reversed and Hernandez was awarded second base.
Almora later prevented Seager of another extra-base hit, stranding Hernandez with a running catch on the warning track with his back to home plate.
Earlier this season, Almora made a leaping catch at the wall in St. Louis at a key moment.
Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell hit long solo home runs, their first of the season. Both came off Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-2).
Rizzo’s drive to right field in the first inning opened the scoring and sent a fan’s beer all over the bleachers. Russell’s homer to left in the fourth landed on Waveland Avenue.
“That ball was mangled,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “That came out hot.”
This was a rematch of last year’s NL Championship Series and produced three entertaining games, with the Cubs taking took two.
“We look at our club and we know we’re evenly matched,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I think they know it as well. They won the series. We’ll get them at our place. They know we’re not going anywhere.”
The teams will conclude the season series May 26-28 in Los Angeles.
Carl Edwards Jr. threw two scoreless innings in relief, and Koji Uehara and Wade Davis threw one apiece for the Cubs.
Anderson’s last scoreless outing of at least five innings came on May 3, 2015 when as a member of the Dodgers he blanked the Arizona Diamondbacks in six innings of a no-decision.
FINDING THE FORMULA
Maddon has tinkered with the top and bottom of the lineup this season, leading off Schwarber — an unconventional choice — and sliding the pitcher between eighth and ninth.
“The season will teach us a lot of lessons, but I think he’s going to be fine there all year,” Maddon said of Schwarber, who has an on-base percentage of .381, including eight walks in nine games.
Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner returned to the starting lineup after missing Wednesday’s start with a quadriceps injury. . RHP Pedro Baez was headed back to Los Angeles on Thursday after throwing one scoreless inning for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday. “What day he is activated, we’re not sure. But he is on his way,” Roberts said of Baez, who injured his hand during spring training and missed the entire Cactus League. . LHP Rich Hill (blister) threw a 35-pitch bullpen session on Thursday but his status for Sunday was still undetermined. He’s on the 10-day disabled list.
Cubs: RHP Hector Rondon was not available Thursday after he underwent a precautionary MRI on his left knee after being pulled from Wednesday’s game after a collision at home plate. Maddon said Rondon will likely be ready Saturday.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-1, 3.46 ERA) will take on RHP Zack Greinke (1-0, 2.31) in a battle of former Cy Young winners and teammates as the Dodgers open a four-game series Friday at home against Arizona.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (1-0, 6.00) opens on the mound Friday as the Cubs host the Pirates and RHP Gerrit Cole (0-1, 6.55) for the first of three games this weekend.
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