CHICAGO -- The plan was to have Jacob Arrieta pitch at least seven innings, but the Cubs didn't factor in a 34-pitch first inning on Tuesday night against the Marlins.Arrieta regrouped after the first, retiring 16 in a row, and got the win in the Cubs' 10-2 victory over the
CHICAGO -- The plan was to have Jacob Arrieta pitch at least seven innings, but the Cubs didn't factor in a 34-pitch first inning on Tuesday night against the Marlins.
Arrieta regrouped after the first, retiring 16 in a row, and got the win in the Cubs' 10-2 victory over the Marlins. It was Chicago's fifth straight win, but only the second time in the last 11 games that a Cubs starter got the win.
The right-hander struck out Dee Gordon to start the game, but Giancarlo Stanton singled and Arrieta walked both Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna to load the bases. Stanton scored when J.T. Realmuto hit a potential double-play ball but the Cubs only got the force at second base.
"In the first, I started good, and any time you can limit Stanton to a single, you'll take it," Arrieta said. "A couple walks there led to the run. I made a good pitch against Realmuto to get the double play. We weren't able to turn it there. It was kind of a slow ground ball to [shortstop] Addison [Russell], and [Realmuto] got down the line pretty good.
"From that point on, I wanted to utilize the sinker as much as possible, have a few quick innings and get to the seventh. I was relying pretty much exclusively on the sinker and I was pitching to the conditions to force some contact and let the guys play behind me."
The adjustment worked. Arrieta got 10 ground-ball outs, and some nifty defensive work, including a stellar play by third baseman Kristopher Bryant to get Stanton in the third.
"Guys had good at-bats, laid off some tough pitches and then he kind of settled in," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Arrieta. "It's that first inning with a lot of pitchers, right? You got a chance to get at 'em, get to 'em and we're able to nick him for one."
Realmuto tripled to open the seventh on Arrieta's 100th and final pitch. The Cubs' right-hander is 3-0 with a 3.04 ERA in four home starts this season, and posted his 22nd career start of at least six innings and two or fewer hits.
"The starting rotation has driven the engine for us," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "We could really have a nice little run if all those pitchers get on the right path."
There's been a different vibe since the Cubs returned to Wrigley Field from a disappointing 0-6 trip to Los Angeles and San Diego.
"Any time we go through a period like we did on our last road trip, it kind of increases the sense of urgency a little bit," Arrieta said. "We're not necessarily pressing or trying to do more than we're capable of, but trying to get locked in more as far as our mental approach and focusing exclusively on that. We've been doing that the past five or six games, and it's starting to pay off.
"This is a ballclub that's capable of winning 10, 12 games at a time and in a row. We'll put this behind us, enjoy this win, come out tomorrow and try to make it three in a row against these guys."
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.