The Cubs had to put up a better effort Saturday after a disappointing loss to the Pirates on Opening Day and, sure enough, they did. The return of Jake Arrieta and some timely power combined to earn their first win of 2021.
Pittsburgh jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a 1st inning single from Kevin Newman, then a Jake Marisnick bloop hit and a David Bote sacrifice fly put the Cubs ahead 2-1 in the 2nd. Arrieta settled in nicely from there, going six strong frames.
Kris Bryant hit a solo homer in the 3rd inning and Jason Heyward had his own bomb in the 6th to pad the lead. The Cubs bullpen was the polar opposite of Thursday, completely shutting the Pirates down in a 5-1 victory. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
The pitching staff allowed just one run Saturday, which was more than enough with the Cubs’ power bats working.
Bryan Reynolds lined into a double play in the 3rd inning and Arrieta really seemed to settle down after that on the way to a quality start.
Stats That Matter
- More Jake Days like this please: 6 IP, 1 R, 6 H, 5 K, and 1 BB.
- Javy Báez had two singles including a run-scoring hit in the 8th.
- Heyward had a hit in addition to his absolute tank of a homer.
- Craig Kimbrel struck out the side to end the game.
Saturday was a quality effort all around by the Cubs in every facet of the game. It was also nice to see the ‘pen rebound from a rough first outing.