With a second consecutive road series win on the line, right-hander Jake Arrieta brought his best stuff, notching a career-high 11 strikeouts over seven innings Wednesday, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 6-1 win over the Miami Marlins in the series finale.
Arrieta (3-1, 1.98 ERA) scattered five hits over the seven innings of one-run ball, walking just one. The lone run came via a a Giancarlo Stanton solo blast in the bottom of the first – his National League-leading 20th of the season.
Chicago (30-40) got things cooking early offensively, with Starlin Castro continuing his recent string of hot games with a two-out double down the left field line that plated Chris Coghlan for the first run of the game. It was Castro’s 21st double of the season and was part of a three-hit afternoon for the young Cubs shortstop, raising his average to .291 on the season.
The game remained tied until the top of the sixth when another double by Castro plated Anthony Rizzo, making it a 2-1 Chicago advantage. Nate Schierholtz then broke things open with a three-run home run to right field against Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi (4-3, 3.76 ERA) – pushing the Cubs’ lead to 5-1.
An RBI single by Darwin Barney in the top of the eighth added an unneeded insurance run and the duo of Pedro Strop and James Russell tossed two scoreless frames to close the door and give Chicago its first back-to-back road series wins since last June.
Miami (36-35) struggled offensively, going hitless with runners in scoring position – although their chances were limited, as they left just half a dozen men on base against Cubs’ pitching.
Rizzo also added three hits in the win and Ryan Sweeney put a pair of hits together as part of the team’s 13-hit outburst in the finale.