Cubs vs. Cardinals. The rivalry is alive.
Jake Arrieta did his Jake Arrieta thing in Wednesday night’s National League Wild Card Game at PNC Park, striking out 11 batters over nine shutout innings as the Cubs beat the Pirates 4-0 to advance to the Division Series. Arrieta gave up only four hits — all singles — and did not issue a walk. It was a masterful outing from the 2015 National League Cy Young Award candidate.
Kyle Schwarber hit an RBI single in the top of the first inning and a two-run bomb into the Allegheny River in the top of the fourth. Dexter Fowler was also a big offensive contributor for the visiting Cubs, scoring on both of Schwarber’s big hits and adding a homer of his own in the top of the fifth.
Things got heated in the seventh when Pirates reliever Tony Watson plunked Arrieta with a pitch that appeared to be aimed at his left hip. The benches and bullpens cleared and Pirates utilityman Sean Rodriguez tried to throw a punch at Cubs backup catcher David Ross. That’s the frustration that comes with playing in three of these do-or-die games in three years.
A blacked-out PNC Park crowd was rocking early on and the Pirates did have a shot to break through in the bottom of the sixth, but the Cubs turned a slick doubleplay to get out of that threat.
So it’ll be Cubs vs. Cardinals on Friday night at Busch Stadium in Game 1 of the NLDS.
The first time these two rivals have ever met in the playoffs. Oh boy.
Frustration is boiling over for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have played in three straight do-or-die National League Wild Card Games and look poised to drop this one to the visiting Chicago Cubs.
Jake Arrieta entered his at-bat in the top of the seventh inning having whiffed eight Pittsburgh batters over six scoreless innings. With two outs and nobody on, Pirates reliever Tony Watson struck Arrieta in the backside with a pitch that looked intentionally located.
Both benches cleared, and it was Pirates utilityman Sean Rodriguez who served as the most physical aggressor. He tried to throw a punch at Cubs backup catcher David Ross at one point, and grazed Kyle Schwarber on the miss. Here’s the video, though it doesn’t include the Rodriguez punch (er, attempted punch) …
Chicago is leading 4-0 in Pittsburgh in the top of the eighth inning.
Kyle Schwarber put the Cubs on the board in the top of the first inning of Tuesday night’s National League Wild Card Game with an RBI double to left field that easily scored Dexter Fowler from second base.
Fowler then singled off Pirates starter Gerrit Cole with one out in the top of the third and Schwarber promptly sent a ball into the Allegheny River that runs along the right field edge of PNC Park …
Chicago leads 3-0 after four innings and Jake Arrieta is absolutely cruising.
Now that’s how you quiet a rowdy crowd.
Kyle Schwarber hit a run-scoring double down the left field line in the top of the first inning to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead and then obliterated a ball into the Allegheny River in the top of the third inning to put Chicago up 3-0. Dexter Fowler had reached on a one-out single moments before. He also scored the Cubs’ first run after a single to center and a steal of second base.
That may be all the support that Jake Arrieta needs in this loser-goes-home National League Wild Card Game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
Arrieta has six strikeouts through three scoreless innings. He has allowed just one hit.
The 2015 Cy Young Award candidate has given up three runs just twice in his last 20 starts.