Albeit a rare occurrence, Saturday’s game against the Cardinals was a banner day for the Cubs.
Right-handed starting pitcher Jake Arrieta was outstanding in his season debut and the Cubs beat St. Louis 3-0 at Wrigley Field, winning the series and snapping a streak of 14 straight series lost.
The Cubs have now won three straight games for the first time since they swept the Giants in a three-game series July 26-28 of last season. The Cubs have a chance to sweep St. Louis with a win Sunday.
Prior to Saturday’s win, the last time the Cubs had won a series was Sept. 9-11 of last season when they took two of three from the Reds.
For Arrieta, his outing was as good as the Cubs could have hoped.
Arrieta experienced right shoulder tightness heading into spring training and was put on the 15-day disabled list on March 30. Saturday he pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings giving up only four hits and striking out seven. None of the four hits off Arrieta went for extra bases.
Prior to the game manager Rick Renteria said that Arrieta would be on a pitch count, but did not specify how many pitches. He was extremely efficient, throwing 82 pitches, 56 of them strikes.
Junior Lake broke a scoreless tie when he hit a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, driving in shortstop Starlin Castro who led off the inning with a single.
Castro went 2-for-4 on the day with a single, double and a run scored. Since being moved to the fourth spot in the lineup, Castro is 12-for-28. Lake went 3-for-3—a triple shy of the cycle after hitting a single and double in addition to the home run.
Anthony Rizzo hit a first-pitch home run to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning, putting the Cubs up 3-0.
Despite Cubs manager Rick Renteria saying before the game that he had not settled on a closer, he called for right-hander Hector Rondon in the ninth inning for the second straight game.
Rondon answered the call again, delivering his second straight save in as many days.