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Cubs KO South Siders; Moncada shows muscle

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Jake Arrieta has thrown two no-hitters, both on the road. Ten miles from Wrigley Field, he flirted with another, but settled for first place in the National League Central.

Anthony Rizzo (3-for-4) drove in four runs and Addison Russell added a solo homer, while Arrieta gave up two hits, including Yoan Moncada's first MLB home run, to lift the Cubs to an 8-3 Interleague victory Wednesday night over the crosstown-rival White Sox.

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CHICAGO -- Jake Arrieta has thrown two no-hitters, both on the road. Ten miles from Wrigley Field, he flirted with another, but settled for first place in the National League Central.

Anthony Rizzo (3-for-4) drove in four runs and Addison Russell added a solo homer, while Arrieta gave up two hits, including Yoan Moncada's first MLB home run, to lift the Cubs to an 8-3 Interleague victory Wednesday night over the crosstown-rival White Sox.

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The Cubs now are 10-2 since the All-Star break, a season-high six games over .500, and have a half-game lead over the Brewers, who lost to the Nationals on Wednesday. The Cubs were 5 1/2 games behind the Brewers at the All-Star break.

"First place? Nice," Rizzo said. "We've got a long ways to go."

Video: CHC@CWS: Russell cracks a solo homer to right field

Arrieta faced the minimum over the first four innings and may have gotten out of sync when he had to wait while the Cubs sent nine batters to the plate in the four-run fifth. Two batters into the White Sox half of the inning, Omar Narvaez doubled to right-center for the first hit off the right-hander.

The White Sox's only other hit off Arrieta was Moncada's homer to straightaway center with two outs in the seventh. Arrieta then exited with his third straight quality start. Cubs starting pitchers now are 9-0 in the second half.

"I still feel like I haven't pitched my best yet," Arrieta said. "I'm in a really good spot, and I still feel like I'm getting stronger and stronger as every start passes by, and that's a good feeling." More >>

Video: CHC@CWS: Arrieta gets Narvaez to ground into a DP

Before the game, Cubs manager Joe Maddon reminisced about White Sox starter James Shields. They were together for seven seasons with Tampa Bay, but it's been a rough season for Shields, who was charged with five runs (three earned) over four-plus innings.

"I felt good on my changeup," Shields said. "Things are starting to feel a little bit better on the mound. The results aren't there right now, unfortunately, but things are starting to feel better."

The Cubs have a 2-1 lead in the home-and-road intracity series, which wraps up Thursday night. The White Sox, now a season-high 20-games under .500, have lost 11 of their last 12.

Video: CHC@CWS: Maddon on Arrieta's solid outing

"At this point in the season, where we're at, we need to win as many games as we can," Arrieta said. "Tonight was a really nice team victory for us."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
One batter too long: After the Cubs loaded the bases in the fifth on a Victor Caratini single, a Jason Heyward walk and a fielder's choice on Yolmer Sanchez's error, White Sox manager Rick Renteria went out to chat with Shields. Even with a pair of relievers warming, Renteria left Shields in to face Rizzo, who ripped a 3-1 fastball over the head of center fielder Adam Engel for a bases-clearing double. The ball had an exit velocity of 111.2 mph, according to Statcast™, and knocked Shields out of the game.

"I think the only mistake I had that inning was the Rizzo, going behind in the count with a 3-1 count and bases loaded," Shields said. "I can't give too much. The ball was actually on the black, the one he hit to center field. I felt pretty good in the beginning [of the start], but it just kind of fell apart at the end."

Video: CHC@CWS: Shields strikes out Schwarber in the 2nd

Big fly No. 1: Moncada, the No. 1 prospect per MLBPipeline.com, the White Sox got from the Red Sox, gave the South Side fans something to cheer about in the seventh when he connected on his first home run. With two outs, he launched an 0-2 curveball from Arrieta 417 feet to straightaway center. It was Moncada's seventh big league hit and third with the White Sox. It marked the first home run Arrieta had surrendered on an 0-2 pitch since 2011.

"It means a lot because it was the first one of many that are coming, and I'm happy," Moncada said through interpreter Billy Russo. "I have the ball. I'm going to put it in a special place in my house. I'm going to put it in a crystal box, for my kids to know that it was special for me."

Video: Must C Classic: Moncada launches first career HR

"He had a pretty balanced swing," Arrieta said of Moncada. "You can tell that guy has a lot of potential." More >>

QUOTABLE
"It's always a good feeling to wake up that way. I'll get to the coffee shop in the morning [on Thursday], I'll have the headset on, write the lineup, read the New York newspapers and get ready for my day." -- Maddon, on being in first place

"There's no lamenting or anything. This is the situation we're in, and I think the guys want the ball every time I give it to them and they want to do a good job. We're going to try to keep it respectable as much as we can, and in some cases win some ballgames." -- Renteria, on his team's recent slide

Video: CHC@CWS: Renteria discusses Moncada's first career HR

GLOVE WORK
Cubs left fielder Jon Jay robbed Melky Cabrera of a possible extra-base hit in the first when he snared a fly ball on the run in the gap in left-center. Statcast™ rated it a three-star catch, and that there was a 65 percent catch probability. Jay had to run 66 feet to get the ball.

Video: CHC@CWS: Jay makes a phenomenal diving catch

Cabrera returned the favor in the second when he grabbed Jay's fly ball in the left-center gap to end the inning. Cabrera had to run 72 feet, but Statcast™ gave it an 81 percent catch probability.

Video: CHC@CWS: Cabrera makes a nice running catch

NOT YOUR AVERAGE DINGER
White Sox right fielder Alen Hanson led off the eighth by taking Mike Montgomery deep, knocking a 349-foot homer just over Heyward's glove in right field to trim the Cubs' lead to 7-3. With an exit velocity of 94.7 mph and a launch angle of 40 degrees, according to Statcast™, the ball had a hit probability of 6 percent and is a home run just 3 percent of the time.

"That fly to right field that became a home run, we were kind of incredulous that happened," Maddon said.

Video: CHC@CWS: Hanson lifts a solo home run to right field

WHAT'S NEXT
Cubs: Jon Lester will close the crosstown series on Thursday. The lefty is coming off a stellar outing in which he struck out 10 over eight innings, holding the Cardinals to two runs on three hits. He's 6-3 with a 3.54 ERA in nine career starts at Guaranteed Rate Field.

White Sox: Mike Pelfrey (3-7, 4.46 ERA) will get the start for the White Sox against the Cubs at 7:10 p.m. CT in the Crosstown Cup series finale. He went five innings -- his longest start in nearly a month -- and allowed a run on two hits against Kansas City on July 22, his last outing. Preview >>

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the White Sox on Wednesday.

Jake Arrieta, Alen Hanson, Jon Jay, Yoan Moncada, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, James Shields