Arrieta, Cubs top Brewers, 6-1
MILWAUKEE — The Chicago Cubs would love to host the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL wild card game next week.
With Jake Arrieta pitching, it might be difficult to beat Chicago no matter where that game is played.
Chicago’s ace allowed two singles and struck out seven in six innings in a 6-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night. But Chicago failed to gain ground in its bid to host the wild card contest after the Pirates beat Cincinnati 6-4 in 12 innings in Pittsburgh.
The Pirates held on to a two-game lead with two games left in the regular season.
Arrieta (22-6) seems like he’s already locked in on Pittsburgh.
"I don’t have time for that yet," he said when asked to recount his dominant year. "Enjoy the win tonight and start getting ready for Pittsburgh on Wednesday."
Anthony Rizzo had two hits and three RBI, including a solo homer into the Cubs bullpen in right in the fourth off Ariel Pena (2-1).
Milwaukee finally broke through after Arrieta yielded to the bullpen in the seventh. Khris Davis hit a homer, his 27th, off Trevor Cahill.
Otherwise, it felt like Wrigley Field North at times, with all the Cubs fans at Miller Park cheering on another dominating outing by Arrieta. The NL Cy Young Award contender improved to 11-0 since Aug. 1, and his season ERA dropped to 1.77.
"Tremendous. Watching him you could see the explosive stuff," manager Joe Maddon said. "If that did not clinch his award, I don’t know what would."
Chicago added two runs in the fifth after Milwaukee center fielder Logan Schafer bumped into right fielder Domingo Santana while going for a routine fly ball. The ball bounced off a glove and fell to the ground, allowing Kris Bryant to reach on an error and load the bases for Rizzo.
The left-handed slugger roped a two-run single to center for a 4-0 lead.
Pena allowed four runs, five hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings. The rookie may have impressed enough in his late-season audition in the big leagues to be in the mix for a spot on the pitching staff in 2016.
"I was pleasantly surprised by what he did," manager Craig Counsell said. "Certainly, we have to be aware of him and he’s another option for us."
Hitting against Arrieta is about one of the hardest tasks in baseball these days. The righty features a devastating four-pitch arsenal.
"Yeah, and they all look like a strike for a very long time," Davis said. "And then they just explode out. His stuff is electric right now."
Scooter Gennett led off the bottom of the first promisingly enough for the Brewers with a single.
"He gets ahead with a 95-96 fastball which makes hitting hard. You have to pick one pitch, stick with it and hope you hit," Gennett said.
Milwaukee’s lineup has been unsettled this season in part because of injuries. The team had used 126 different lineup combinations going into Friday’s game, the 160th of the season. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy (toe, concussion) and standout Ryan Braun (lower back) are among key players who have missed time.
Cubs righty Kyle Hendricks (7-7) is 1-1 in three starts against the Brewers this season, including a 0.73 ERA in 12 1/3 innings over two starts at Miller Park.
For the Brewers, it could be a bullpen day on Saturday with RHP Tyler Wagner (0-1) on the hill. He has yet to make it past the fourth inning in either of his two starts.
- Anthony Rizzo
- Ariel Pena
- Domingo Santana
- FOX Sports Wisconsin
- Jake Arrieta
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Khris Davis
- Kris Bryant
- Kyle Hendricks
- Logan Schafer
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Ryan Braun
- Trevor Cahill
- Tyler Wagner