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Cubs, Arrieta spoil Blue Jays' return to Wrigley

August 18, 2017

CHICAGO -- One day after hitting six home runs in a loss, the Cubs needed four run-scoring singles to post a 7-4 Interleague victory on Friday afternoon over the Blue Jays, who were making their first trip to Wrigley Field since 2005.Jason Heyward, Javier Baez and Albert Almora Jr. each

CHICAGO -- One day after hitting six home runs in a loss, the Cubs needed four run-scoring singles to post a 7-4 Interleague victory on Friday afternoon over the Blue Jays, who were making their first trip to Wrigley Field since 2005.
Jason Heyward, Javier Baez and Albert Almora Jr. each singled in one run, Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run single and Baez added a two-run homer in the eighth for insurance to back Jacob Arrieta, who notched his seventh straight quality start.

Baez dazzles on both sides of ball
With the win, the Cubs have a 1 1/2-game lead over the Cardinals and a two-game lead over the Brewers in the National League Central. The Blue Jays are three games behind the Twins and Angels for the second American League Wild Card spot.
The loss was only the fourth in the past 11 games for the Blue Jays, who not only had to play by National League rules, but also had to deal with jets buzzing over Wrigley Field during practice runs for the weekend Air and Water Show on the lakefront. The Blue Jays had plenty of fans at Wrigley in the crowd of 41,814.
"[The Blue Jays fans] got caught up in the atmosphere at Wrigley, and they got loud," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

Arrieta has been the workhorse in the rotation, which the Cubs need with the news on Friday that Jonathan Lester was going on the disabled list. Toronto's only run off Arrieta came in the first inning, when Justin Smoak doubled with two outs and scored on Steve Pearce's single. Arrieta now has given up two or fewer earned runs in seven straight starts.

"I located the ball really well," Arrieta said. "I established certain things early on in the ballgame that allowed me to do certain things."
"Fastball command -- when it's there, this guy is pitching deep in the game," Maddon said. "I love the way he's gone about his business this year."
Arrieta leads the Cubs with 13 wins. He will be a free agent after this season, but Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said now is not the time to talk about a new contract.
"We're just trying to win this division," Epstein said. "That's what we're focused on. The offseason stuff, we'll deal with when the time comes."
J.A. Happ took the loss, ending a personal three-game winning streak. The left-hander had given up one run in each of those three games, but on Friday, he served up five runs on nine hits over five innings.

"I thought the execution was there," said Happ, who allowed five earned runs in a start for the third time this season. "Second inning was tough to kind of swallow the way the balls kind of found a way in there. [I'm] disappointed, obviously, to only go five, but execution-wise, I actually thought it was a good game."
Blue Jays pleased with Mayza despite HR
Conga line:Benjamin Zobrist walked to open the Cubs' second, and one out later, he reached third on Victor Caratini's double before scoring on Heyward's infield single to Smoak -- and a brain cramp by Happ, who didn't cover first base on the play. Baez followed with an RBI single to go ahead, 2-1. One out later, Almora singled to score Heyward. Baez also tried to score, but he was thrown out at the plate.

Relief work: The Cubs' bullpen has had a tough time lately, but C.J. Edwards did his job in the seventh, striking out Jose Bautista to strand two runners. But the Blue Jays rallied with two outs in the eighth against Pedro Strop, rattling off four straight hits, including an RBI double by Kevin Pillar and a two-run single by Ryan Goins to pull within one.

"Nah, they're never going to forget that. I'm pretty sure about it." -- Blue Jays catcher Miguel Montero, who received a lot of boos from the crowd upon his return to Wrigley Field, in response to a reporter joking about how quickly the crowd forgot about his pinch-hit grand slam in Game 1 of the 2016 NL Championship Series while he was with the Cubs
"I asked him if he wanted to go grab a drink tonight, so we might do that. He's one of my favorite guys. It was a little upsetting to see the way it ended for him here, but it is what it is. He's in a new spot now, and I hope he has success there. I only hope for the best for him. Miggy's a good dude, and I look forward to seeing him down the line." -- Arrieta, on Montero
Josh Donaldson made an appearance at shortstop for just the second time in his career. He shifted from third to shortstop in the bottom of the seventh inning after Darwin Barney was lifted for a pinch-hitter. The last time Donaldson played shortstop was May 24, 2013, with Oakland.
Baez's homer was his 20th, and the Cubs now have five players with at least 20 (Kristopher Bryant, Willson Contreras, Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber). That ties the club record (also set in 1958, 2004 and '08).

Cubs second baseman Ian Happ had a rough day at the plate, but it didn't show in the field. In the fifth, Toronto's Happ lofted a ball to shallow center, but the Cubs' Happ was able to run over and grab the ball in time -- and just in front of Baez. In the eighth, Chicago's Happ made a diving stop of Smoak's hard-hit ball, tumbled and recovered in time to throw him out at first.

"We did a lot of good things on the field today overall," Maddon said.
In the Cubs' second, Baez tried to score on Almora's single. The Cubs challenged whether Baez was safe and whether Montero blocked the plate. After a review, both calls were confirmed, and Baez was out.

"I felt something -- I thought it was his [shin] guard," Baez said. "[Montero] told me he tagged me. Obviously, he's going to say that. He was kind of blocking the plate. We don't understand why they have that rule -- it hasn't been overturned in two years. They just got me."
Caratini singled to lead off the Chicago eighth and was forced out at second on Heyward's grounder. Heyward was called safe at first, but the Blue Jays challenged the ruling. After a review, the call stood.

Blue Jays: Right-hander Nick Tepesch (1-2, 5.25 ERA) will take the mound against the Cubs on Saturday, with first pitch scheduled for 2:20 p.m. ET. Joe Biagini is expected to return to the Blue Jays' rotation in the near future, so Tepesch will need a strong outing to hang on to his job. Tepesch has made two starts for Toronto, and he allowed one run over six innings during his past outing vs. the Rays.
Cubs:Jose Quintana will face a familiar foe when he starts Saturday. The lefty is 6-2 with a 1.77 ERA in nine starts against the Blue Jays in his career. He's 2-0 in three starts at Wrigley Field for the Cubs, with a 5.63 ERA. That number is inflated by a no-decision against the D-backs, when he gave up six runs over five innings. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT.
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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.