Arrieta impresses as Cubs win on the South Side


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Cubs ace Jake Arrieta was in top form on Wednesday, allowing only two hits in nearly seven innings pitched.
Cubs ace Jake Arrieta was in top form on Wednesday, allowing only two hits in nearly seven innings pitched.

CHICAGO – The outcome of the five-run victory for the Chicago Cubs (53-47) over the Chicago White Sox (39-59) in Game 3 of the 2017 Crosstown Classic could have very easily been far different, as a misplayed ground ball by White Sox third baseman Yolmer Sanchez in the fifth inning had a significant effect on the remainder of the game. Scoring four runs in the fifth, the Cubs went on to win 8-3 for their second triumph of the four-game affair with their rivals from the south side of the Windy City.



Jake Arrieta received the nod to pitch for the Cubs on the night, and he came to play, giving up only two hits and striking out five in 6.2 innings on the hill. In fact, pitching was the story of the evening through the first half of the contest, with Arrieta and his counterpart, James Shields of the White Sox, sending opposing batters packing in short order. The Cubs were unable able to get to Shields until the fourth frame, when first baseman Anthony Rizzo and second baseman Ben Zobrist hit back-to-back singles with one out to put runners on the corners. Thereafter, designated hitter Kyle Schwarber put the Cubs on the board via an RBI single that scored Rizzo and pushed Zobrist to third.


Zobrist proceeded to cost the Cubs a chance at an additional run by jumping the gun on a ground ball hit by center fielder Ian Happ. The grounder was fielded cleanly by Shields, who caught Zobrist dead to rights on the base path, throwing him out on an ill-fated attempt at scoring. The Cubs would make up for the missed opportunity in the following inning, though, making the most of the chance presented by Sanchez's error.

With runners on first and second and no outs, third baseman Kris Bryant batted a hard-hit grounder toward third that short-hopped and was subsequently bobbled by Sanchez. As a result, the young infielder rushed an off-the-mark throw toward first base, loading the bases on what could have been a double play. Visibly upset with the defensive gaffe, Shields, who is known for his fiery nature, came unglued after that, giving up a double off of the wall in center to Rizzo that cleared the bases and put Chicago up 4-0. Rizzo was superb on the night, going 3-4 at the dish with four RBI to show for it.

Following the three-run double, Shields was pulled from his start, finishing with five hits and five runs to his name in four innings of work. Starting off well, Shields ended on a very sour note, and his replacement, David Holmberg, did little to mitigate that. Holmberg gave up an RBI single to Cubs left fielder Jon Jay that scored Zobrist and provided the Cubs with a commanding 5-0 lead.

In the top of the fifth, once again, the Cubs squandered a chance at scoring additional runs due to a base-running error. On a grounder hit directly to White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, Rizzo, following his bomb to deep center, inexplicably attempted to reach third base and was tagged out in so doing. However, the pickle that Rizzo found himself in enabled Zobrist, who hit the grounder, to reach second base and later score from second on Jay's single.

Meanwhile, the White Sox were inept with the bat, not accruing a hit until the bottom half of the fifth. Arrieta's first blemish of the contest came on a ground rule double to right by catcher Omar Narvaez, which put young White Sox star Yoan Moncada, who was walked in the previous at-bat, on third. Afterward, White Sox right fielder Alen Hanson brought Moncada home on a sacrifice fly, making the score 5-1 in favor of the North Siders.

An error cost the White Sox yet again in the following inning, as Jose Abreu could not successfully haul in a throw at first, resulting in the Cubs boasting an auspicious situation of having runners on second and third with only one out. They capitalized off of it, too, with Zobrist scoring right fielder Jason Heyward on a sacrifice fly to left. The Cubs held on to their five-run lead until Moncada took Arrieta deep on a home run to center in the bottom of the seventh, the rookie second baseman's lone hit of the game and his first career long ball.

The Cubbies answered in the eighth, adding a run off of Sox reliever Brad Goldberg. Bryant doubled to center and scored soon afterward on a one-out single to left by Rizzo. The game's final innings followed a pattern of tit-for-tat scoring, as the two Chicago clubs traded offensive blows in a back-and-forth manner. For example, Hanson led off the bottom of the eighth with a home run to right, and Cubs shortstop Addison Russell reciprocated with a home run of his own in the top of the ninth, skying a round-tripper over the wall in right field for his 10th homer of the season.

Never able to gain any ground on their northern foes, the White Sox fell 8-3 on their home turf in the first of two games hosted by the Sox in the four-game interleague battle between crosstown rivals. With 10 hits, as compared to the five collected by the White Sox, the Cubs consistently outmatched their opponents with the bat in the second half of the contest, using the momentum gained from the crucial fifth-inning fielding error to quickly take a sizable lead that they did not relinquish.

Arrieta earned the win for his dominant performance, moving to 10-7 overall, while Shields fell to 2-3 by being handed the loss. The Cubs will look to take three out of four in the Crosstown Classic when the home-and-home series comes to a close tomorrow night at Guaranteed Rate Field in southern Chicago, with the first pitch slated for 7:10 PM CST.


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