Jake Arrieta turned in yet another solid home start, and a pair of doubles from Anthony Rizzo and Welington Castillo provided most of the offense for Chicago in a much-needed series finale win against Ryne Sandberg and the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday afternoon, by a 7-1 final.
The right-hander Arrieta (3-3) lasted 6 2/3 innings, allowing just one run on three hits, while walking three and striking out four. Since coming over in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles, he has pitched in-tune with the rest of the rotation that has been remarkably consistent, despite the team’s dismal win-loss record.
A two-run double by Castillo in the bottom of the fourth inning gave Chicago some breathing room, scoring both Donnie Murphy and Brian Bogusevic and giving Chicago a 4-1 advantage that only grew as the afternoon wore on at the Friendly Confines.
Chicago led from the first inning on, when Ryan Sweeney singled to center field, scoring Darwin Barney, who reached on a single of his own earlier in the frame against Phillies’ starter Kyle Kendrick (10-12).
Starlin Castro singled to lead off the bottom of the third inning, continuing his recent surge in which he has hit .333 (9-for-27) with one home run and four RBIs. Barney hit a slow roller to Chase Utley at second, moving Castro into scoring position with one out. First baseman Anthony Rizzo followed with an RBI double off the right field wall that fell just a few feet shy of a two-run home run – making it 2-0 in favor of Chicago.
Phillies outfielder Darin Ruf homered in the top of the fourth, helping Philadelphia answer back, and cutting the Chicago lead to 2-1. The drive was Ruf’s 12th long ball of the campaign, to go along with his 21 RBIs.
Kendrick gutted out six innings for his club, but was hit hard – consistently – allowing five runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out four. Despite the high run total, Chicago did not homer against the Philadelphia starter.
A sacrifice fly by Barney accounted for an additional Chicago run, scoring Castillo from third and pushing the lead to 5-1. A poor performance by the Phillies’ relief corps forced in a run in the bottom of the eighth, before a sacrifice fly by Castro made it 7-1 heading to the bottom of the ninth.
Left-hander James Russell entered in relief of Arrieta in the seventh inning, and returned to work in the eighth for manager Dale Sveum. Despite drawing ire from fans of late, Russell has racked up a lot of innings for the Cubs’ skipper, and has pitched reasonably well, to the tune of a 1-5 record with a 3.42 ERA in 70 appearances. He was replaced by Pedro Strop after Utley laced a two-out single in the top of the eighth.
Chicago will begin a three-game series against the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field on Monday, with Travis Wood getting the start in the series opener. He will be opposed by Miami right-hander Henderson Alvarez. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CDT.