Pirates blanked by Arrietta, 2 others, Cubs win 5-0
PITTSBURGH (AP) — J.A. Happ gave up seven runs in his last start with the Seattle Mariners on Thursday, which further endangered his spot in the rotation. He remains a starter, but not with Seattle.
A.J. Burnett’s elbow injury compelled the Pittsburgh Pirates to trade for Happ as emergency rotation depth at last week’s deadline. Happ’s recent struggles followed him to Pittsburgh.
Happ allowed four runs in 4 1-3 innings and the Chicago Cubs beat the Pirates 5-0 in the lefty’s Pittsburgh debut.
“Obviously I would’ve liked to have it gone a lot differently but I just didn’t execute a few key times,” Happ said. “They made me pay for it.”
Chicago tagged Happ (4-7) for eight hits as he walked two and struck out six. The lefty was 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in his last four starts with the Mariners.
Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said his starter needs to find consistency after he had some good pitch sequences against hitters.
“But overall, balls were up,” Hurdle said. “Balls were up over the plate (with) some deep counts.”
Jake Arrieta pitched seven strong innings for the Cubs and Anthony Rizzo tied a career high with four hits. Chicago won its sixth straight game.
Arrieta (12-6) allowed two singles — Andrew McCutchen in the fourth and Starling Marte in the seventh — while striking out five and walking three.
“I was just being conscious of not giving them much to hit,” Arrieta said. “I had that mindset of not giving in throughout the game.”
Tommy Hunter and Justin Grimm completed the three-hitter with one inning each as the Cubs (58-47) matched their longest winning streak of the season from May 11-16 and moved 11 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2008 season.
In his last nine starts, Arrieta is 6-1 with a 1.38 ERA. He improved to 5-1 in his career against the Pirates.
“The cut fastball played well,” Hurdle said. “We couldn’t get the barrel on it outside of Marte and McCutchen in the middle.”
Rizzo doubled and scored in both the third and fifth innings as the first baseman led the Cubs’ 14-hit attack with the fourth four-hit game of his career. The Cubs put a runner on base in every inning except the fourth.
Chris Denorfia had three hits while Starlin Castro doubled home Rizzo twice and Jorge Soler drove in the first and last runs with a bases-loaded walk in the first inning off Happ and a single in the sixth.
Chicago drew within three games of the National League wild card-leading Pirates (61-44), who remained 5 1-2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.
Marte had two hits.
The Cubs made it 3-0 in the third when Castro hit his first RBI double and scored on a single by David Ross.
Castro greeted reliever Jared Hughes with his second run-scoring double in the fifth.
Cubs: LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (left deltoid inflammation) was activated from the 15-day DL and was optioned to Triple-A Iowa, where he was on a rehab assignment. ... 3B Kris Bryant was hit on the left hand by a pitch in the sixth inning but stayed in the game.
Pirates: RHP Rob Scahill (right forearm tightness) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Thursday by pitching two innings for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Pirates.
Cubs LHP Jon Lester will be brought back on short rest to start Friday against San Francisco. He threw just 31 pitches during a 1 2-3 innings stint Monday night against the Pirates in a game eventually postponed because of rain.
Cubs: RHP Dan Haren (7-7, 3.42 ERA) debuts for his new team Wednesday night in the finale of the rain-shortened two-game series after being acquired from the Miami Marlins last Friday in a trade.
Pirates: LHP Jeff Locke (6-6, 4.21) has a 2.81 ERA in his last nine starts and allowed only one home run in 51 1-3 innings during that span.