National League Wild Card Game – Cubs 4, Pirates 0
WP – Jake Arrieta (1-0) LP – Gerrit Cole (0-1) Save – None
Jake Arrieta went the distance and shut out the Pirates. Kyle Schwarber launched a two-run home run, drove in three runs and Dexter Fowler hit a solo shot in the fifth. Schwarber and Fowler supplied the offense and Arrieta took care of the rest as the Cubs won the NL Wild Card Game and advanced to the National League Division Series against the Cardinals.
Jake Arrieta dominated the Pirates and took the crowd at PNC Park out of the game at the same time. Arrieta allowed four hits with no walks, two HBP and 11 strikeouts in nine innings on 113 pitches, 77 for strikes. Arrieta pitched ahead in the count to 20 of the 32 batters he faced.
Jake Arrieta made history again Wednesday night. Arrieta struck out six of the first 10 batters he faced and ended up with 11 strikeouts in nine innings. Arrieta is the first pitcher in post-season history to throw a shutout with at least 10 strikeouts and no walks.
Kyle Schwarber (2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) and Dexter Fowler (3-for-4 with a home run and three runs scored) combined on five of the Cubs seven hits and scored all four runs. Fowler led off the game with a single, stole second and scored on a Schwarber single to left. Fowler singled with one out in the third and was on first base when Schwarber unloaded.
Kyle Schwarber cranked a 2-1 pitch from Gerrit Cole out of PNC Park and into the Alleghany River.
Dexter Fowler capped the scoring with a solo homer to the stands in right center in the fifth inning.
Kris Bryant (0-for-3 with a walk) and Addison Russell (1-for-4) did not contribute much offensively but they played a big role in Wednesday’s win.
The Cubs defense stepped up behind Arrieta in the sixth and seventh innings. The Cubs turned two inning ending double plays. Arrieta started struggling with his command in the sixth. Travis Snider reached with a pinch-hit single to start the sixth. Arrieta hit Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen reached on an error by Russell at short to load the bases with one out. Addison Russell made the play on the next ball that was hit to him, a smash off the bat of Starling Marte, and started a 6-4-3 double play. And Bryant made an excellent pick on a ball off the bat of Aramis Ramirez in the seventh that started the inning ending double play.
Aramis Ramirez’s last at bat in the majors was a grounder to a Cubs’ third baseman that started a double play.
The benches cleared in the top of the seventh when Tony Watson hit Jake Arrieta with two outs. Arrieta hit Francisco Cervelli in the fifth and Josh Harrison in the sixth. The Pirates retaliated. The benches and bullpens emptied. Sean Rodriguez was ejected and both benches were warned. It was really a classless move by the Pirates.
With Wednesday’s win, the Cubs advanced to the best of five National League Division Series against the Cardinals.
Dexter Fowler started the game with a single to center (3-1) off Gerrit Cole. Fowler took off for second on the first offering to Schwarber. Fowler slid in headfirst safe at second as Josh Harrison dropped the ball. Kyle Schwarber poked a 2-2 pitch down the left field line. The ball landed fair, Fowler scored and the Cubs took a 1-0 lead on a single from Schwarber. Bryant pulled a 2-1 pitch to Harrison at third. The Pirates started an around the horn double play. Anthony Rizzo reached on a throwing error by Neil Walker. The Pirates played Rizzo in the shift and Walker couldn’t make the long throw from short right. La Stella was caught looking to end the inning. La Stella did not take the bat off his shoulder. Gerrit Cole made 22 pitches, 15 for strikes, in the first inning.
Jake Arrieta gave up a two-out single to Andrew McCutchen. That was all for the Pirates in the first. Arrieta made 14 pitches, 11 for strikes, in the first inning.
The Cubs led 1-0 after one complete.
With the Cubs leading 1-0, Arrieta went down swinging for the first out in the third. Dexter Fowler dumped a 2-1 pitch into right for a single.
Kyle Schwarber obliterated a 2-1 offering from Cole. The ball sailed 449 feet out of PNC to right and into the Allegheny River. The Cubs took a 3-0 lead on Schwarber’s first home run since Sept. 12.
Kris Bryant went from 0-2 to 4-2 and a free pass. Rizzo popped a 1-0 pitch into shallow left. Mercer caught the ball with his back to the infield, turned and threw to first. Bryant was doubled off to end the inning. Cole needed 54 pitches, 35 for strikes, to complete three innings.
Jake Arrieta struck out the side in order (Pedro Alvarez, Gerrit Cole, Gregory Polanco) in the third. Arrieta made 38 pitches, 29 for strikes, in three innings.
The Cubs led 3-0 after three innings.
Jake Arrieta pitched a 1-2-3 fourth inning and was first up in the fifth inning. Arrieta struck out swinging.
Dexter Fowler gave Arrieta a little more breathing room. Fowler pulled a 2-2 pitch to deep right center. Fowler’s solo shot made it 4-0 Cubs. Schwarber flied out to right and Bryant lined out to short. Cole made 78 pitches, 52 for strikes, in five innings.
Francisco Cervelli was grazed by an up and in pitch on his hand as he bailed out of the box to start the fifth. Neil Walker popped Arrieta’s first pitch to Bryant in left for the first out. Arrieta caught Mercer (1-2 pitch) and Alvarez (3-2 pitch) looking to end the fifth.
The Cubs led 4-0 after five innings.
The Cubs were not able to tack on against the Pirates bullpen over the last four innings. Arrieta refocused after struggling in the sixth and seventh innings. And Arrieta did not allow being hit by a pitch to rattle him.
The game went to the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs leading 4-0.
Jake Arrieta started the ninth after throwing 103 pitches, 70 for strikes, in eight innings. McCutchen bounced a 0-2 pitch back to the mound for the first out. Marte grounded out to Bryant and Cervelli lined a 2-2 pitch to Castro to end the game.
And the Cubs Win the NL Wild Card Game.
The Cubs open the NLDS in St. Louis on Friday night (5:30pm CDT) … Jon Lester versus John Lackey and the Cardinals.