Game Sixty-Seven – Cubs 8, Twins 0
WP – Jake Arrieta (7-5) LP – Kyle Gibson (4-6) Save – None
Jake Arrieta settled in after a shaky first inning and pitched a gem. Arrieta allowed just four hits over nine sensational innings. Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo gave Arrieta an early lead before Kyle Schwarber and Dexter Fowler broke the game open in the eighth as the Cubs beat the Twins for the second day in a row on Sunday afternoon.
The Cubs defense really stepped up behind Jake Arrieta in the first inning. Arrieta was shaky at best in the opening frame. The Twins squared him up and it was a double play started by Addison Russell and a leaping catch by Kris Bryant at third that kept the Twins from taking an early lead.
Jake Arrieta was lights out from the second inning on. Arrieta pounded the strike zone. And he followed up arguably his worst outing with the Cubs with his best on Sunday afternoon.
Arrieta appeared to get stronger as the game wore on. He struck out the side in order in the fifth and faced just three over the minimum after five innings.
Jake Arrieta stayed in for the last two innings with the game well in hand. Arrieta appeared to throw the ball free and easy throughout the afternoon which probably made the decision rather easy for Joe Maddon to leave him in and let him go for the complete game shutout.
Jake Arrieta ended up facing just 31 batters Sunday, four over the minimum, after surrendering four hits and no walks. Arrieta struck out seven on 122 pitches, 86 for strikes. Arrieta really put on a pitching clinic Sunday afternoon.
Starlin Castro (3-for-4 with a sac fly RBI and a run scored) and Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4 with a home run, a walk and two runs scored) were the difference early in the game. And Arrieta really settled in after Rizzo’s solo shot in the fifth inning.
Starlin Castro gave the Cubs an early 1-0 lead with a sac fly in the third that allowed Rizzo to tag and score from third. Anthony Rizzo launched his third home run of the series and fourth of the trip in the fifth inning.
The Cubs sent 10 to the plate in the eighth and scored six times. Kyle Schwarber (1-for-4 with two RBI, a walk and a run scored) in his last big league game for a while delivered an opposite field single with the bases loaded that scored Starlin Castro and Chris Coghlan (2-for-5 with a double and a run scored) and gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead.
Dexter Fowler (1-for-4 with a home run and four RBI) provided the knockout punch, a four-run homer two batters later and his second career Grand Slam capped the scoring for the Cubs.
Addison Russell (1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored), Chris Denorfia (0-for-3 with a walk, a sac bunt and a run scored) and Miguel Montero (2-for-5) were in the middle of the scoring Sunday afternoon.
The Cubs won the series in Minneapolis (two games to one) and finished the five-game road trip with a 3-2 record.
With Sunday’s win (6-6 on Sunday in 2015), the Cubs improved to 37-30 on the season.
Anthony Rizzo led off the third inning of a scoreless game with a walk. Kris Bryant struck out swinging. Miguel Montero worked a full count before ripping a single into right center. Rizzo went to third with one out.
Starlin Castro came through again. Castro drove the first pitch from Kyle Gibson into right center. Rizzo tagged after Torii Hunter made the catch and scored, 1-0 Cubs. Chris Coghlan tapped back to the mound to end the inning.
Jake Arrieta pitched around his own error and Byron Buxton’s first stolen base in the third. Arrieta made 31 pitches, 21 for strikes, in the first two innings but he allowed the speedy Buxton to reach with one out. Buxton dribbled one to the third base side of the mound that Arrieta could not get a handle on. Brian Dozier flied out to left. Buxton took off for second on the first pitch to Rosario. Montero appeared to slip on the plate, the ball just missed hitting Arrieta and ended up in shallow center. Buxton streaked to third. Eduardo Rosario popped out to center for the third out.
Jake Arrieta threw 44 pitches, 29 for strikes, in three innings and the Cubs led 1-0.
Anthony Rizzo gave Arrieta a little breathing room in the fifth inning. Rizzo led off with a 422-foot home run over the center field wall. Rizzo’s 15th home run of the season gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead. After Bryant struck out swinging and Montero grounded out to second, Starlin Castro singled to center. Coghlan tried to bunt his way on, but did not get the ball far enough from the plate and he was thrown out easily to end the inning.
Jake Arrieta struck out the side in order in the fifth … 73 pitches for Arrieta after five, 49 strikes.
The Cubs led 2-0 after five innings.
Jake Arrieta really settled in after the Rizzo blast. Arrieta retired the Twins in order in the sixth and seventh innings. Arrieta needed 92 pitches, 64 for strikes, to complete seven innings Sunday afternoon.
Lefty Aaron Thompson started the eighth for the Twins. With the Cubs leading 2-0, Starlin Castro led off with a single to left. Chris Coghlan just missed a home run and settled for a double off the wall in right. Paul Molitor had Thompson intentionally walk Denorfia with runners on second and third and no outs.
Kyle Schwarber stepped in with the bases loaded and quickly fell behind 0-2. Schwarber reached out and poked the third pitch of the at bat into left center. Castro and Coghlan scored, 4-0 Cubs.
Paul Molitor went back to his pen for right hander Michael Tonkin.
Addison Russell walked to re-load the bases.
Dexter Fowler launched a 2-1 pitch to deep right. The ball sailed over the wall and Fowler’s second career Grand Slam gave the Cubs an 8-0 lead. Rizzo popped out to left center and Bryant struck out swinging. Miguel Montero singled to right. But Starlin Castro, who started the inning, grounded out to short for the third out.
Jake Arrieta surrendered his fourth hit of the game in the eighth inning, a two-out single to Byron Buxton. Arrieta retired Dozier on a flyout to left center. Arrieta threw 110 pitches, 77 for strikes, in eight innings. And the game went to the ninth with a 8-0 lead.
The Cubs did nothing against Brian Duensing in the ninth. And Arrieta went back out for the bottom of the ninth.
Jake Arrieta completed what he started. Arrieta pitched a 1-2-3 ninth. Game over.
The Cubs open a four-game homestand Monday night against the Dodgers … Tsuyoshi Wada faces Clayton Kershaw in the opener.