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Arrieta's latest gem gives Cubs their latest win

Jake Arrieta's latest performance against the Pirates was another example of his dominance. AP Photo/Paul Beaty

Another start against the Pittsburgh Pirates, another gem for Jake Arrieta.

The Chicago Cubs came away with a win against the Pirates thanks in large part to six shutout innings from their ace. Arrieta’s ERA against the Pirates dropped to 1.46, putting him in elite company when it comes to dominating a particular team, as noted in the chart below.

Arrieta has been particularly great against the Pirates as a member of the Cubs, with a 1.19 ERA in 10 starts against them since he joined Chicago.

Arrieta escapes jams

Arrieta got himself into two jams and worked his way out of them with strikeouts.

In the third inning, Jordy Mercer and Chris Stewart started the inning with singles, leaving runners at first and third with nobody out. Arrieta threw ball one to each of the next three batters, but he ended up striking out all three swinging.

The sixth inning was Arrieta’s true Houdini performance. After Francisco Liriano flew out on one pitch, Arrieta proceeded to walk the bases loaded. He took the next hitter, David Freese, to a 3-0 count.

Arrieta’s next 10 pitches in the inning were either fastballs or sliders, and he got Freese and Matt Joyce to strike out to end the inning.

Role players fill in, step up

Kris Bryant missed Friday’s game with a stomach ailment and Jason Heyward was given the day off. This gave non-regulars Matt Szczur and Albert Almora Jr. starts near the top of the order.

Szczur batted second and hit the second pitch of the day out of the park for a two-run home run. He added another hit, and Almora Jr., batting fifth, went 3-for-4 with two RBIs to pace the offense.

Up next

The Cubs’ game Friday was their first in a stretch of 24 consecutive games without an off day leading to the All-Star break. They will host the Pirates twice more this weekend, including Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN/WatchESPN at 8:08 p.m. ET, before finishing the home stand with a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals.