It was the game everyone expected. The Cubs showed up today on all aspects and Jake Arrieta shut down the prolific offense the Pirates have. After a bit of struggles in the 4th inning, Arrieta was able to pull it all together and shut down the Pirates to a score of 8-2.
Both Jake Arrieta and Jeff Locke were cruising along in this game. Each were matching each others performance inning by inning as they each threw three scoreless innings. At the top of the 4th, Arrieta gave up a lead off double to Andrew McCutchen and then allowed a Gregory Polanco single to put the Buccos on the corners. Polanco was able to steal second which enabled him to score on a Francisco Cervelli 2 RBI single. Josh Harrison ended to inning with a double play, but the damage was done.
With the 2 run lead, Locke continued to match Arrieta as he allowed the first two batters on as well. I say this because it is technically what the box score will display, however, Jason Hayward softly grounded to Josh Harrison and appeared to be out on the play. Clint Hurdle would decide not to challenge it, which seemed very questionable. As Anthony Rizzo came up to bat, Locke left one right over the middle of the plate and Rizzo barely cleared the fence with a 3 run shot to center field.
With the lead in tact, Arrieta refused to let the game slip away again and retired the next 12 straight batters. He would come out of the game in the 9th inning with the 6 run lead. Arrieta finished the day going 8 strong innings allowing two earned runs, three hits, two walks, and striking out 11. He is now 7-0 on the season with an N.L. leading 1.29 ERA.
Jeff Locke looked very good as he started out the game. He pitched very well until he left that one over the plate for Rizzo and the wheels slowly started to come off. In the 6th inning, Ben Zobrist singled on a line drive and Addison Russell homered to make the score 5-2. The damage wasn’t over by any means. Locke followed up by hitting Miguel Montego and then was pulled from the game. Locke’s line for the day ended with 5.1 innings while allowing 6 earned runs, six hits, two walks, and striking out three.
Other than the exciting 4th inning for this offense, there was not much more that happened. All three of their hits came in that inning. If you want some sort of positive nugget out of this game, Andrew McCutchen was able to continue his hit streak to eight games.
Tomorrow, Gerrit Cole will face Jon Lester in hopes to not be swept for the second series in a row by the Cubs. Cole is currently 3-3 with a 3.78 ERA while Lester is 4-1 with a 1.96 ERA. As every game with the Cubs, this will not be an easy task to win even with our Ace pitching. Cole has only giving up more than three earned runs in one start this season, which of course came against the Cubs. Game time is set for 2:20 for the third straight day, so let’s hope for a different result this time.