Arrieta takes air out of Braves, earns 11th win
ATLANTA -- Jorge Soler smacked a solo home run to help Jake Arrieta win his career-high 11th game and lead the Cubs to a 4-1 victory Sunday over the Braves. With the win, played in front of 31,690 at Turner Field, the Cubs took the three-game series.
Arrieta, who ended the first half with a complete game two-hit victory against the White Sox on July 12, struck out 10 over seven innings, posting his second double-digit strikeout game this season.
"We've talked about him being among the elite pitchers in the National League and he proved it again today," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Arrieta.
Soler missed the month of June because of an ankle injury, and launched his first homer since May 29 with two outs in the third off Braves starter Shelby Miller. Jonathan Herrera also hit a two-run single in the second off Miller, now winless in his last 11 starts.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Good stuff: Arrieta scattered three hits and walked three in his 15th quality start this season. He retired nine in a row before A.J. Pierzynski doubled with two outs in the fourth for the Braves' first hit. Pierzynski also got Atlanta's first hit on Saturday with a leadoff single in the eighth against Jon Lester. In his last six starts, Arrieta has given up five earned runs over 46 2/3 innings for a 0.96 ERA. More >
"I'm never satisfied," Arrieta said. "I feel there's always room to get better and especially on the finer details of this game. That's what I try to do every week."
Sloppy second: Braves second baseman Jace Peterson's defensive miscue in the second led to a pair of unearned Cubs runs and a lead they wouldn't give up. With Chris Coghlan on first and one out, Peterson tried to get the force at second base after fielding Starlin Castro's ground ball to his glove side. Peterson wound up rushing a high throw, and the error -- as well as a walk to David Ross -- helped extend the inning and led to Herrera's two-run single. More >
Sorry, Shelby: Miller has now gone 11 consecutive starts without earning a win despite posting a 3.15 ERA during that stretch. Atlanta has scored just 30 runs (or 2.7 per game) during that period and has a 2-9 record to show for it.
"I thought Shelby threw great," Peterson said. "Everytime he goes out there we've got a chance to win. I thought he did everything he could have done."
Substitute starter: The Cubs loaded the bases with two outs in the second, and Herrera, starting in place of rookie Addison Russell, delivered a two-run single. Russell is 6-for-47 (.128) with 15 strikeouts in his last 16 games, and his batting average has dropped from .251 down to .228 in that span. Herrera has been clutch, batting .406 with runners on base.
"They're both pretty good. That's a pretty good rotation they've got out there. I think those guys are tough pitchers." -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez on Lester and Arrieta
"He's just figuring everything out right now, and I hate to tell you, but there's more in the tank there, and another level. As he gets more self awareness and is able to deal with all these weapons that he has, he'll get better." -- Maddon on Arrieta
After Sunday's game, the Cubs announced that Edwin Jackson was designated for assignment to make room on the roster and in the bullpen for Rafael Soriano, who signed a Minor League contract in June. More >
Cubs: The Cubs will play four games in three days against the Reds, starting at 6:10 p.m. CT Monday. Clayton Richard opens the series with his second start and third appearance since he was acquired from the Pirates on July 3. The lefty posted a quality start on July 4, giving up two runs over 6 1/3 innings against the Marlins. The Reds are batting .243 vs. left-handed pitchers.
Braves: Atlanta welcomes the Dodgers to Turner Field for a three-game series that starts Monday at 7:10 p.m. ET. In game one, Braves rookie Matt Wisler matches up with former Atlanta starter Brandon Beachy, who is making just his second start with the Dodgers this season after recovering from Tommy John surgery.
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