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Jon Lester finally throws to first -- with mixed results

CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester finally attempted a pickoff throw to first base after nearly two years without throwing over there. In fact, he threw over twice on the same runner, with his second attempt sailing well over the head of first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

"The first one felt really good, to throw a ball over to first base," Lester said after the game. "It's been a while.

"The second one, I got a little excited. I looked over there and the guy was going in the other direction. When you're not used to doing stuff like that, I got a little overexcited and tried to throw the ball a little too soon."

It happened during the second inning of the Cubs' eventual 7-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night when Zack Cozart reached on a single. Lester's first attempt since April 30, 2013 made it to Rizzo with no issues, but his second try flew well over his head. Cozart passed second base and attempted to get to third before right fielder Jorge Soler threw him out.

"There's a lot of things to continue to work on," Lester said. "That's one of them."

Lester has been working on his pickoff move since spring training as it's become a topic of conversation over the past few weeks. Before the game, Cubs manager Joe Maddon was asked if the storyline was overblown.

"Yes," he responded.

But that was before Lester threw a pickoff attempt away. The pitcher vowed to get better at it.

"It's just a matter of doing that repeatedly and keeping those guys at bay," Lester said.