Arrieta strikes out 11 in Cubs win over Pirates


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Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-2 on a chilly Saturday afternoon in front of 40,953 fans at Wrigley Field, and the Cubs have now won the last six games and nine out of the last eleven from one of their N.L. Central rivals.

The Cubs are now 27-8 which is the highest mark in baseball and the best franchise start through 35 games since the 1907 season.

Jake Arrieta is a machine as he proved it again with his seventh victory of the year with eight strong innings, giving up only three hits, two runs, two walks and eleven strikeouts. It is the 9th ten strikeout or more game of his career and his ERA is now 1.29 for the season. Since the start of the 2015 season, Arrieta has allowed only 28 hits to the Pirates in 60 total innings.

Arrieta has been simply dominant going 22-1 with a 0.98 ERA (22 ER/203 IP) with just 45 walks and 202 Ks in his last 28 starts. He has given up three or fewer runs in each of his last 28 starts that is the longest streak in the major leagues since 1993.

The Cubs have won Arrieta's last 21 starts extending a record set back in 1906. He is now one of six pitchers since 1913 to have their teams win twenty consecutive starts by them.

Arrieta put down the Pirates in order to begin the game, and the Cubs had three straight fly-outs to end the first inning. It was a pitching duel for the first three innings with only a hit by a Ben Zobrist single between the two teams.

In the fourth inning, Arrieta gave up a two-run single by Francisco Cervelli to put the Pirates up 2-0. Josh Harrison hit into a wild double play to end the inning.

Jason Heyward got an infield single, and Kris Bryant walked to lead to a game-changing three-run homer by Anthony Rizzo to put the Cubs up 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning. Rizzo has 32 RBIs in 35 games which puts him on the pace for 148 RBIs on the season. He also has reached safely in a career-high 26 consecutive games that is the highest mark currently in the majors.

After a walk by Ben Zobrist on a close pitch on ball four, the Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage was ejected from the game during his brief visit to the pitching mound.

Addison Russell hit a two-run bomb to add some insurance as the Cubs went up 5-2 in the sixth inning. It was his second homer in as many games, and he has produced twelve RBIs in his last six games.

Dexter Fowler knocked a bloop single for an RBI to score Miguel Montero to increase the Cubs lead 6-2.

Ben Zobrist continued his impressive May as he reached on-base four times with two hits and two walks.

Kris Bryant had an RBI single in the eight inning to make it 7-2 Cubs but then he was tagged out in a rundown rounding first base. Rizzo piled it on the Pirates as he had his fourth RBI of the day with a single scoring Heyward to make it 8-2.

Cubs catcher Miguel Montero was activated today from the 15-day disabled list and reached on base two times with an error by Josh Harrison in the fourth inning and was hit by a pitch in his next at-bat in the sixth inning. Both benches were warned after he was hit.

Cubs reliever Justin Grimm finished off the Pirates with a 1-2-3 ninth inning in a non-save opportunity.

The Cubs are an astonishing 15-2 against the National League Central this season and the Pirates are nine games behind the front-running Cubs.

Lefty veteran Jon Lester (4-1, 1.96 ERA) will battle righty Gerrit Cole (3-3, 3.78 ERA) on Sunday at 1:20 p.m. at Wrigley Field.

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