After taking game one of the three-game set, the Cubs sent their hottest pitcher to the mound Tuesday night looking to take the series and set up a potential sweep of the Pirates. It was a pitchers duel early, as both teams traded zeros through five innings before Chicago finally got on the board to take the lead in the bottom of the 6th. Pittsburgh tacked on a single run in the seventh, but it was too little, too late (box score).
Why The Cubs Won
Jake Arrieta did Jake Arrieta things. He may not be the untouchable guy we were spoiled with in 2014-15, but Arrieta has still been pretty dominant since the All-Star break. All he did Tuesday night was add another six scoreless innings to his stat sheet. He didn’t have great command to start, as he labored through the first couple of innings, but Arrieta eventually settled down and silenced the Pittsburgh bats.
Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl was cruising until he lost his…uh, composure in the 6th inning.
Ben Zobrist led off the frame by hitting a solo shot to left-center to break the scoreless tie. A couple of walks sandwiched around an Anthony Rizzo double loaded the bases for Alex Avila, who promptly hit a run-scoring single. A Jason Heyward sacrifice fly made it 3-0 and that was enough for the Cubs to walk away with the victory over their division rivals.
Stats That Matter
- As mentioned earlier, Arrieta was outstanding yet again: 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K. In nine post-break starts, Arrieta has gone 6-1 with a 1.59 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 56 2/3 innings.
- Zobrist was the leadoff man Tuesday night and, in addition to his go-ahead home run, he also led off the game with a single, finishing 2-for-4.
- Anthony Rizzo just continues to hit in the month of August. He had another three hits in this one, including a run-scoring double in the bottom of the 8th that gave him 27 RBI so far this month.
- Wade Davis completed his 27th consecutive save, breaking Ryan Dempster’s previous team record of 26.
Once Arrieta settled down, the Pirates never mounted much of a threat. Koji Uehara allowed a John Jaso solo shot in the 7th, but that was the lone blemish on an otherwise solid night by the pitching staff.
The Cubs will look for the sweep Wednesday in the finale of the three-game series. Chicago will hand the ball to mid-season acquisition Jose Quintana, while Pittsburgh will counter with right-hander Ivan Nova. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. CT and will air on CSN.