Arrieta picks up 15th win, Cubs pound Braves 7-1
CHICAGO (AP) Jake Arrieta had no desire to tout his high win total or his place in the NL Cy Young Award race.
All that mattered to him was the Cubs stopped their recent skid.
Arrieta pitched six scoreless innings for his major league-leading 15th win, and Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell homered to lead Chicago to a 7-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night.
The Cubs snapped a three-game losing streak after winning nine straight and 15 of 16, with Arrieta (15-6) dominating on the mound and Rizzo and Russell supplying the power at the plate.
''The only thing that matters is getting back on track as a team,'' Arrieta said. ''We had a couple tough games against Detroit after a good run. My mindset was to come out (and) put a stop to that, get us going in the right direction and get another streak going.''
Rizzo's three-run drive capped a four-run third inning that saw Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez get ejected for arguing balls and strikes.
Russell singled and scored in the third and added a solo homer in the fourth to make it 5-0. Chris Coghlan contributed an RBI single and a run-scoring triple and scored twice.
Arrieta improved to 9-1 in his past 12 starts. The right-hander gave up four hits, struck out seven and walked one while lowering his ERA to 2.30. Arrieta threw 107 pitches, and with the lopsided score not to mention an eye toward the postseason, manager Joe Maddon decided not to leave him in a little longer.
''I want him to be well for that moment,'' Maddon said. ''Regardless of how they feel right now, you've got to make those decisions.''
The Cubs got back to winning after they gave up a combined 25 runs and 40 hits in a two-game sweep by Detroit. With Pittsburgh beating San Francisco on Thursday, Chicago trails the Pirates by four games for the top wild card and leads the Giants by four games for the second spot.
Atlanta lost for the 19th time in 27 games and remained tied for the major league lead with 44 road losses.
Mike Foltynewicz (4-5) gave up a career-high seven runs and eight hits over 4 2/3 innings.
The Cubs grabbed a 4-0 lead in the third in a span of two pitches after Gonzalez got tossed.
''I see Folty out there getting after it, and I see a couple of times where he gets a little frustrated with his body language and I just said a few things in the dugout,'' Gonzalez said. ''It wasn't anything crazy, but you can't argue balls and strikes so I got to watch the rest of the game on TV.''
The ejection - his first - came with runners on first and second and one out.
Coghlan had a 2-0 count when plate umpire Doug Eddings raised his hand twice toward the Atlanta dugout. Gonzalez came out to argue and kicked dirt on the plate.
Coghlan then singled in the game's first run. Rizzo made it 4-0 when he drove the next pitch just inside the right-field foul pole for his 24th homer.
Atlanta has dropped 19 of 21 road games.
Braves: 3B prospect Hector Olivera (left hamstring), currently at Triple-A Gwinnett, could join the Braves as early as Monday, Gonzalez said. Olivera, acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers last month, is expected to be the everyday third baseman once he makes his major league debut.
Cubs: 3B Kris Bryant left the game in the sixth. The Cubs said he was not injured.
Braves: RHP Shelby Miller (5-9, 2.43 ERA) looks to snap a 16-start winless streak. He is 0-8 despite a 3.03 ERA in that stretch.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (6-5, 3.97) looks to rebound from his shortest outing of the season after going 3 1/3 innings against the White Sox last week.