Arrieta wins 19th straight decision as Cubs beat Giants 8-1

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Even one of baseball’s hottest team’s couldn’t slow down Jake Arrieta.

Arrieta gave up four hits and one walk while striking out eight in seven innings to win his 19th consecutive decision as the Chicago Cubs beat San Francisco 8-1 Friday night, snapping the Giants’ eight-game winning streak.

“It was a battle for me,” said Arrieta, who leads the majors with a 1.29 ERA. “I wasn’t crisp until the third or fourth inning . Those guys are tough, top to bottom and they make you work. I had to adjust on the fly a little bit. I brought my B stuff and had to sequence differently.”

The Cubs have won Arrieta’s last 22 starts going back to last season, with their ace going 19-0 in that stretch. Chicago also won on the road for the 24th time in 29 games.

Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward left the game in the bottom of the first inning after crashing into the left field wall on a diving catch. He chased a shot over his head off the bat of Denard Span, robbing the Giants’ leadoff man of extra bases on the third pitch he saw from Arrieta (8-0).

“The first hitter of the game, something like that, I’m at a loss for words,” Arrieta said of Heyward’s catch in the deepest part of the stadium.

“That’s an amazing catch. What he’s capable with the glove in the outfield, it’s amazing. I think he’ll be just fine. A little sore, but I hope he’s back as soon as possible.

Heyward is under evaluation for an injury to his right torso abdominal region, the Cubs said.

“He’ll get an MRI in the morning,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We don’t know anything yet. That might have been the game right there. He threw caution to the wind. That could have been an inside the park home run and they have a different mentality.”

Arrieta retired 13 of the last 16 batters he faced after allowing Joe Panik‘s two-out run-scoring single in the bottom of the third – just the second run Arrieta has allowed through the first three innings this season.

“That’s what he’s been doing,” Maddon said. “Makes pitches when he has to. His stuff is so good, even without his good command, he can be productive.”

The Cubs also got production from Kris Bryant, who was 2 for 5 with four RBIs, including a three-run homer to left off Jake Peavy (1-5) that highlighted a five-run outburst in the top of the second inning.

After Bryant’s homer, Anthony Rizzo chased Peavy with a single to right that snapped his streak of 13 consecutive hitless at-bats.

Peavy allowed five runs and seven hits and two walks after 1 2/3 innings. He threw 55 pitches.

MAKING A SPLASH

Ben Zobrist homered into McCovey Cove for his sixth homer, becoming just the 38th opposing player and the second Cubs player (Corey Patterson is the other) to reach San Francisco Bay’s waters with a “splash hit.” Zobrist’s homer extended his hitting streak to seven games and his on-base streak in games in which he’s started to 26.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: OF Matt Szczur, on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, began a rehab assignment on Thursday with double-A Tennessee, going 1 for 2 with a walk, a run and a strikeout. Friday’s Smokies’ game was rained out. Szczur was eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday.

Giants: RHP Sergio Romo, out since April 15 with a strained right hip flexor, threw 24 pitches in an extended spring training game on Friday, manager Bruce Bochy said. Romo will start a rehab assignment at triple-A Sacramento on Saturday is expected to be activated within two weeks.

UP NEXT

Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (4-2) has allowed one or fewer runs in six of eight starts. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning his last time out against Pittsburgh (a 2-1 Pirates victory in which he was tagged with the loss). Lester is 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA against the Giants.

Giants: RHP Matt Cain (0-5) has a 1.80 ERA with 13 strikeouts and two walks over his last two starts. In his previous six starts he was 0-4 with a 7.84 ERA. Cain is 6-4 with a 3.84 ERA in 17 games against the Cubs.

Home Run Derby Preview and Predictions

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The Home Run Derby goes off tonight at 8PM. It’ll be on ESPN and streaming at MLB.com.

Say what you want about the Home Run Derby, but it’s a heck of a lot better now in its truncated, three-round, head-to-head, bracketed version than it used to be. The thing moves along nicely, there’s natural building drama and all of that. We like to complain about everything, but the format and entertainment value of the Home Run Derby is pretty darn good and way better than it used to be.

Not that we can’t find something to complain about. This year many will no doubt complain about the lack of star power. Last year we had Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. This year we have Bryce Harper and Freddie Freeman — good, but not the pure power beasts we had in 2017 — and beyond them it’s a little anonymous, at least to the casual fan.

My personal view is that that’s OK because it helps introduce folks to players they may not have seen or heard much about. And, let’s not forget, Giancarlo Stanton got eliminated in the first round last year and the guy who lost the final — Miguel Sano — has been playing A-ball down in Fort Myers for the past month. Star power doesn’t mean everything. The dingers take center stage here, not the names.

For 2018, this is who we have:

As we did last year, Bill, Ashley, and I have peered into our crystal ball to tell you exactly what’s going to happen tonight. At least I told you exactly what would happen last year. You may not have heard this anywhere else — I hardly ever mention it because of my natural humbleness — but I picked the whole Derby correctly. Totally by skill and not by dumb luck, I can assure you. As such, if any of my picks are wrong it’s because the thing is rigged.

BILL

Round 1
Jesus Aguilar over Rhys Hoskins
Kyle Schwarber over Alex Bregman
Bryce Harper over Freddie Freeman
Javier Baez over Max Muncy

Round 2
Kyle Schwarber over Jesus Aguilar
Bryce Harper over Javier Baez

Final
Kyle Schwarber over Bryce Harper

 

ASHLEY

Round 1
Rhys Hoskins over Jesus Aguilar
Kyle Schwarber over Alex Bregman
Bryce Harper over Freddie Freeman
Javier Baez over Max Muncy

Round 2
Kyle Schwarber over Jesus Aguilar
Javier Baez over Bryce Harper

Final
Kyle Schwarber over Javier Baez

 

CRAIG

Round 1
Jesus Aguilar over Rhys Hoskins
Alex Bregman over Kyle Schwarber
Bryce Harper over Freddie Freeman
Max Muncy over Javier Baez

Round 2
Jesus Aguilar over Alex Bregman
Max Muncy over Bryce Harper

Final
Jesus Aguilar over Max Muncy