Jon Lester started off June with a complete-game, 2-1 victory over the Dodgers in which he fanned 10 and walked zero. The last Cubs pitcher to throw a complete game with double-digit strikeouts, no walks, and no more than one run allowed, was Mark Prior, who hurled a four-hit shutout of the Expos on Apr. 9, 2003.
Kris Bryant's two-run homer provided all the Cubs' scoring in that game, marking the second time this season the Cubs have won a game while having just three hits or fewer. That matches their total from all of 2015, and they haven't had three such games in a season since 1964.
Despite striking out 13 times, the Cubs benefitted from some defensive generosity in Friday's shutout of the Diamondbacks. Three batters were intentionally walked, two were hit, and one reached on an error.
The last time that happened for the Cubs was on Aug. 10, 2001, when Jon Lieber threw all nine innings of a 9-3 win over the Giants. Two of the walks that day were to Michael Tucker after he homered in the second inning. Only one was to Sammy Sosa. One other team in the majors has done it in the past three years -- the Nationals against the Cubs in their 13-inning game on May 8.
Although Jake Arrieta proved he is human by finally losing a game Sunday, he still struck out a dozen Diamondbacks. He became the first Cubs pitcher to fan 12, allow no more than three runs, and still lose, since Kerry Wood dropped another 3-2 game to Arizona on Aug. 23, 2002.
The last Cub to pull it off while also allowing nine hits (as Arrieta did) was Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander, who pitched all 14 innings of a 2-1 loss to the Phillies on Aug. 2, 1919. George "Possum" Whitted scored the winning run in that contest, and Phillies first baseman Fred Luderus tied what was then the all-time "ironman" record by playing in his 478th consecutive game.
Speaking of Philadelphia, the Cubs took the midweek series there, starting with a 6-4 win Monday in which all four runs allowed were in the ninth. Lester worked eight more scoreless, walk-less innings, becoming the first Cubs pitcher to do so in Philadelphia since Greg Maddux threw a 1-0 shutout (and also drove in the lone run) on Oct. 2, 1991. His nine strikeouts, combined with the 10 from last week, made him just the second Cubs pitcher in the live-ball era to have back-to-back games of nine strikeouts, zero walks, and no more than one run allowed. Rich Harden did it in August 2008.
Javier Baez had four hits and drove in three runs Wednesday, but failed to score a run himself; the two spots after him were a combined 0-for-8. He's the first Cub with a four-hit, three-RBI game from the eight-hole (or ninth in the lineup) since Reed Johnson in 2008, and just the second in team history to do it without scoring a run himself. Catcher Paul Bako had a triple and six RBIs on April 5, 2003, but never made it the final 90 feet to the plate.
Record watch: The Cubs started June at 35-15, marking the eighth time in franchise history (but first since 1918) that they've played .700 ball through 50 games. In six of the other seven seasons they won the National League pennant. The lone exception was way back in 1879 when they won just four games in September and fell to fourth place. Excluding strike years, the 15 losses were the fewest for the Cubs through May since 1938 when the season didn't start until April 19.