With the Wild Card race taking shape the Cubs and Giants were squaring off in a four game series in Chicago. With the first three games going to Chicago, they had a 2-0 lead going into the ninth inning today. It was torturous for Cubbie fans, but they held on to take a three and a half game lead for the second Wild Card slot.
Hector Rondon, the Cubs’ closer, gave up a single to Brandon Belt, a double to Brandon Crawford, and then hit Ehire Adrianza with a pitch before striking out Hector Sanchez, Angel Pagan, and Gregor Blanco to complete the sweep. Rondon was all over the place, but his hard slider was tough for the Giants’ hitters to see.
Jake Arrieta was dominant, once again, going 7 2/3 innings shutout innings, striking out six, and walking just two. His ERA is down to 2.38, complemented by an FIP of 2.65 in 155 1/3 innings pitched, proving he is one of the top pitchers in baseball. Justin Grimm came in for the one out hold in the eighth, and then Rondon closed it out.
As for the Giants, Jake Peavy didn’t match Arrieta, but he did pitch well even with a high pitch count. According to Andrew Baggarly of The San Jose Mercury News, the Cubs fouled off 37 of the 101 pitches Peavy threw, and Fowler fouled off 13 of 25 pitches. After giving up two runs in the first two innings he calmed down and went five innings, gave up two runs, struck out six, and walked two. He continues to pitch well since coming off the DL.
Nori Aoki was hit in the head by an Arrieta pitch and was taken out of the game right away. He experienced nausea and went through concussion tests, and will be reevaluated on Monday, according to Baggarly.
San Francisco ended their road trip with a 3-7 record, but still 3.5 games back of the Dodgers for the division. According to win percentage, they have the second toughest remaining schedule in baseball.
Bay Area Sports Guy summed up the series perfectly for the Giants with this vine of Sanchez striking out on three pitches with the bases loaded: