Cubs' Jon Lester Records 1st Pickoff Since 2011 vs. Pirates

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2015

via MLB.com

It's no secret Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester doesn't like throwing over to first base when he's on the mound. Knowing that, Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Starling Marte decided to test the southpaw.

While it's hard to blame Marte for doing so, it didn't work out well.

Before this season, Lester's last pickoff attempt had come early in the 2013 season. He broke the incredible streak by throwing over to first base against the Cincinnati Reds back in April. His first pickoff attempt that night went well, but his second throw over to first base resulted in an ugly error.

Lester may be in the process of getting over the yips, but he is still no Andy Pettitte when it comes to picking off runners.

In the bottom of the third inning of Game 2 of Tuesday's doubleheader, Marte challenged Lester by taking off for second while the left-hander was staring right at him. To his credit, Lester didn't panic. He calmly stepped off the rubber and fired a strike to first base. That gave the Cubs an opportunity to catch Marte in a rundown.

This marked the first time in four years that Lester had recorded a pickoff, according to ESPN Stats & Info:

It was a bold move by Marte to take off when he did, but it wasn't necessarily bad baserunning. Running when Lester still had the ball forced the Chicago pitcher to either make a throw over or just throw the pitch. Knowing Lester's reputation, there was no guarantee the pitcher was going to go for the pickoff—or even make a good throw.

This was just Lester's night. The Cubs star picked up a win after throwing a complete game, allowing just one run on five hits in the 2-1 victory.