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.

Casey Kelly signs with the LG Twins in Korea

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We wrote a lot about Casey Kelly on this site circa 2010-12.

It was understandable. Kelly was a big-time draftee for the Red Sox and famously split time as a shortstop and a pitcher in the minors, with some people even wondering if he could do it full time. The Sox put the kibosh on that pretty quickly, as he became the top overall prospect in the Boston organization as a pitcher. He then made news when he was sent to San Diego — along with Anthony Rizzo — in the famous Adrian Gonzalez trade in December 2010.

He made his big league debut for the Padres in late August of 2012, holding a pretty darn good Atlanta Braves team scoreless for six innings, striking out four.  He would pitch in five more games in the season’s final month to not very good results but missed all of 2013 and most of 2014 thanks to Tommy John surgery.

He wouldn’t make it back to the bigs until 2015 — pitching only three games after being converted to a reliever — before the Padres cut him loose, trading him to the Braves for Christian Bethancourt who, like a younger Kelly, the Padres thought could be a two-way player, catching and relieving. That didn’t work for him either, but I digress.

Kelly made a career-high ten appearances for a bad Braves team in 2016, was let go following the season and was out of the majors again in 2017 after the Cubs released him a couple of months after he failed to make the team out of spring training. He resurfaced with the Giants this past season for seven appearances. The Giants cut him loose last month.

Now Kelly’s journey takes him across the ocean. He announced on Instagram last night that he’s signed with the LG Twins in the Korean Baseball Organization. He seems pretty happy and eager about it in his little video there. I don’t blame him, as he’ll make $1 million for them, as opposed to staying here and almost certainly winding up in a Triple-A rotation making $60K or whatever it is veteran minor leaguers make.

This was probably way too many words to devote to a journeyman heading to play in Korea, but we so often forget top prospects once they fail to meet expectations. We also tend to forget all of the Tommy John casualties, focusing instead on the Tommy John successes. As such, I wanted to think a bit about Casey Kelly. I hope things work out well for him in the KBO and a baseball player who once seemed so promising can, after a delay, find success of his own.