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.

Braves ace Mike Soroka out for year with torn Achilles

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Atlanta Braves ace Mike Soroka is out for the season after tearing his right Achilles tendon Monday night against the New York Mets.

Soroka was hurt in the third inning after delivering a pitch to J.D. Davis, who grounded the ball toward first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Soroka broke toward first to cover the bag, only to go down on his first step off the mound. The right-hander knew right away it was a devastating injury, one that ensures he won’t be back on the mound until 2021.

“It’s a freak thing that happened,” manager Brian Snitker said, delivering the grim news after the Braves lost 7-2 to the Mets. “I’m sorry it did.”

Soroka yelled in obvious pain and tried to walk gingerly for a couple of steps before dropping to his knees. He couldn’t put any weight on the leg as he was helped toward the clubhouse with the assistance of Snitker and a trainer.

It was a major blow to the two-time defending NL East champion Braves, who had won five straight despite struggling to put together an effective rotation.

“Somebody else is going to get an opportunity,” Snitker said. “Things like that happen. These guys will regroup. Somebody is going to get an opportunity to do something really good. Our young guys are going to continue to get better. We’re going to be fine.”

Soroka, who turns 23 on Tuesday, made his first opening day start last month after going 13-4 with a dazzling 2.68 ERA in 2019 to finish second in NL Rookie of the Year balloting and sixth for the Cy Young Award.

Soroka was making his third start of the season. He came in having allowed just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings but struggled against the Mets, giving up three hits and four walks. He was charged with four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings, the second-shortest outing of his career.

Unfortunately for Soroka, he won’t get a chance to make up for it this season.