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.