Jake Arrieta wins Major-League leading 11th in shutout of Pirates


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<span style=Photo by Dennis Wierzbicki / USATODAY">
Photo by Dennis Wierzbicki / USATODAY

CHICAGO -- Jake Arrieta struck out 11, and Matt Szczur hit a 2-run home run to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 6-0 win over division rival Pittsburgh. The Cubs are 16-6 in their last 22 games, and the team’s 44-20 record is its best start since 1918.

The Pirates had chances against Arrieta. Pittsburgh had the first two men on in the third, and Arrieta came back to strike out the next three batters to end the inning. In the sixth, Arrieta walked the bases loaded with one out, but once again used the strikeout to retire the next two batters.

Arrieta (11-1, 1.74) allowed just two hits and struck out 11 and walked three in six innings of work. It has the fifth game for Arrieta with 10+ strikeouts and two hits or less allowed since 2014. Arrieta's 11th win tied the White Sox's Chris Sale for the major league lead in wins. It was the first time the Pirates had been shut out this season, and Arrieta is now 9-1 lifetime against the Pirates.

Szczur's two-run home run in the first inning would be all the runs the Cubs would need on the day. Rookie outfielder Albert Almora, Jr made his Wrigley Field debut and went 3-4 with 2 RBIs.

Cubs fans missed their chance to see rookie catcher Willson Contreras' first major league at-bat when Miguel Montero lined into a double play with Contreras in the on-deck circle in the eighth. Contreras did take over behind the plate in the ninth.

The Cubs will continue game two of the six-game homestand on Saturday when Jon Lester (8-3, 1.89) faces Jonathon Niese (6-3, 4.60).

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