Game One Hundred Forty-Two – Cubs 9, Astros 5
WP – Jake Arrieta (17-6) LP – Mike Fiers (10-7) Save – None
Six different Cubs drove in runs and the Cubs led 9-1 after four innings. Jake Arrieta was sharp for five innings before running into trouble in the sixth and giving up a pair of runs. Justin Grimm recorded the final two outs in the sixth. After two scoreless innings, Trevor Cahill served up back-to-back homers in the ninth. Travis Wood retired the three batters he faced in the ninth. And the Cubs beat the Astros on Sunday night to take the series.
The Cubs played a complete game Sunday in the series finale with the Astros. The offense jumped on Mike Fiers early and scored in each of the first four innings. The Cubs defense made all of the plays behind Jake Arrieta and the baserunning was simply spectacular.
Kris Bryant (1-for-5 with a double and a RBI) drove in Dexter Fowler (1-for-2 with a doubles, three walks and a run scored) with a double in the first inning. The Cubs scored two runs in the second on a sac fly from David Ross (0-for-3 with a sac fly RBI) and a wild pitch from Mike Fiers. The Cubs put the game away with a four-run third inning.
Jorge Soler (1-for-5 with a home run) launched a solo home run. Javier Baez (2-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI) singled in a run. And Albert Almora Jr. (1-for-4 with two RBI) drove in two with a two-out bloop single to center.
Addison Russell (3-for-4 with a home run, three runs scored and two RBI) launched a two-run homer in the fourth, his 20th of the year, that capped the scoring for the Cubs. Russell’s home run ended up on the train tracks beyond the left field wall.
The Cubs scored nine runs on 10 hits with four walks and 11 strikeouts. Six different Cubs had RBI on Sunday.
Jake Arrieta was really sharp in the first five innings. Arrieta allowed one run on two hits and seemed to find a rhythm with David Ross. The only mistake Arrieta made was a solo homer to Jose Altuve in the fourth. Arrieta made 74 pitches, 42 for strikes in five innings.
Arrieta lost it in the sixth and gave up two runs while recording only one out. Arrieta threw two wild pitches and hit a batter in the inning that led to the two runs.
Jake Arrieta left the game with two on and one down in the sixth with the Cubs leading 9-3. Justin Grimm loaded the bases before getting out of the jam with two fly balls to Dexter Fowler in center field.
Jake Arrieta allowed three runs, all earned, on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Arrieta hit a batter, made two wild pitches, and needed 88 pitches, 49 for strikes, to complete 5 1/3 innings.
Trevor Cahill faced the minimum in the seventh and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Joe Maddon sent him back out for the ninth. Cahill made two pitches in the ninth, one to Yulieski Gurriel and the other to Evan Gattis and both were hit out of the park. Maddon had to use Travis Wood in the ninth for the final three outs.
The Cubs defense was outstanding once again. David Ross, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Albert Almora Jr., Javier Baez and Kris Bryant all turned in web gem-type plays Sunday night on the World Wide Leader.
By winning the series and taking two of three from the Astros, the Cubs finished the regular season 15-5 against the American League.
Dexter Fowler scored the first run of the game on a double from Kris Bryant. Fowler worked a walk after falling behind Fiers 1-2 early in the at-bat. Bryant doubled to the left field corner, and Fowler scored. Anthony Rizzo flied out to right. Bryant tagged and went to third on Rizzo’s productive out. Soler grounded out to short and Zobrist flied out to right to end the inning.
The Cubs scored one run in the first, but it felt like it should have been more.
Jake Arrieta issued a leadoff walk to George Springer but ended up facing the minimum. David Ross threw out Springer at second trying to advance on a ball in the dirt.
The Cubs went back to work against Mike Fiers in the second inning. Addison Russell singled to left. Javier Baez singled to right center. Russell went to third and scored on a sac fly to right from David Ross. Baez tagged and moved to second on the play, 2-0 Cubs. Almora Jr. lined out to third. Yulieski Gurriel tried to double off Baez from second base, threw the ball in right field and Baez moved to third with two outs. And that was a huge mistake. Fiers uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-1 offering to Fowler. Baez scored, 3-0 Cubs. Fowler doubled to right and was stranded after Bryant popped out to third base.
Jake Arrieta hung a zero on the board in the second. Carlos Correa led off the inning with a single to right. Arrieta kept the ball down, pounded the zone and retired the next three batters he faced.
At the end of two complete, the Cubs led 3-0.
The Cubs kept swinging in the third inning and knocked Mike Fiers out of the game. Jorge Soler launched a solo homer (2-2 pitch) to deep left center and gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead. Ben Zobrist followed with a walk and moved to second on a bloop single to left by Addison Russell. Javier Baez singled to center, Zobrist scored, 5-0 Cubs. A.J. Hinch decided that was enough for Mike Fiers and went to his pen for Jandel Gustave with runners on first and second with one out.
David Ross fouled out to Astros’ first baseman Marwin Gonzalez down the right field line. Gonzalez made a juggling catch with his back to the infield. Russell and Baez tagged and went to second and third on the play.
Albert Almora Jr. blooped a single to center. Jake Marisnick broke back and could not run in fast enough to make up for his mistake. With two outs, Russell and Baez scored easily, 7-0 Cubs. Fowler walked and Bryant was caught looking to end the inning.
Jake Arrieta was sharp in the third, 1-2-3 and the Cubs led 7-0 after three innings.
The Cubs made it a 9-0 lead in the fourth. Anthony Rizzo singled to right and was on first base when Addison Russell unloaded. Russell launched his 20th homer of the season, a two-run shot that ended up on the train tracks in left.
The Astros started chipping into the Cubs lead in the fourth. Jose Altuve lined a solo homer with one out. It was just the second hit for the Astros off Arrieta, 9-1 Cubs. Arrieta did not allow another hit in the fourth and pitched a three-up, three-down fifth inning.
The Cubs took a 9-1 lead into the sixth.
After the Cubs went down in order in the sixth against James Hoyt, the Astros took advantage of Arrieta’s lack of command in the bottom of the inning.
Arrieta hit George Springer with one out in the sixth. And he could not recover. Alex Bregman followed with a double off the scoreboard in left, Springer scored and made it a 9-2 game. Jose Altuve singled to left. Bregman held at third with one out. A wild pitch allowed Bregman to score, 9-3 Cubs. Altuve went to second. Another wild pitch put Altuve on third. Arrieta walked A.J. Reed … and Maddon went to his bullpen.
Justin Grimm replaced Arrieta with runners on the corners and one out. Grimm threw a wild pitch, Reed went to second. Grimm walked Gurriel and the bases were loaded with one out. Gattis flied out to shallow center on a 0-2 pitch. And Colby Rasmus flied out to Fowler in center (2-1 pitch) to end the inning.
After six complete, the Cubs led 9-3.
The Cubs were unable to get a hit after the fourth inning, much less add on to the lead against the Astros’ pen. Trevor Cahill pitched two scoreless innings and was sent out for the ninth.
With the Cubs leading by six runs, Cahill served up back-to-back homers on consecutive pitches to start the ninth to Yulieski Gurriel and Evan Gattis. The Astros cut the Cubs lead to 9-5 and Maddon went to his pen for Travis Wood.
Travis Wood locked down the win by retiring Hernandez (flyout to right), Gonzalez (swinging strikeout) and Marisnick (grounder to third) to end the game.
With Sunday’s win (12-11 on Sundays in 2016), the Cubs improved to 91-51 on the season.
The Cubs open a three-game series on Monday night (7:15pm CDT) in St. Louis. Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to face Mike Leake.