CHICAGO (AP) — Jake Arrieta is trying to earn a roster spot for the Cubs next season. He’ll have to work on his command to solidfy his chances.
Arrieta (2-2) pitched five innings and allowed four runs on three hits as the Cubs lost to the Milwaukee Brewers 5-3 on Saturday.
He also gave up three walks and hit one batter. The 27-year-old right-hander was done in by a four-run fourth inning.
“I had my opportunity. I just didn’t make a pitch when I had to,” said Arrieta, who was acquired with reliever Pedro Strop from the Baltimore Orioles on July 2 for right-hander Scott Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger. “It was right there for me to get out of that situation with one run. I just didn’t do a good enough job today.”
Control has been an issue for Arrieta, who has walked 20 and struck out 25 in 33 2-3 innings with the Cubs.
“It’s something we’re trying to get a grip on because it’s been a problem of a couple good pitches and getting two strikes on guys and not being able to make a pitch to put somebody out with,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
The Cubs got solo shots from Luis Valbuena and Brian Bogusevic and fell to 16 games under .500 at Wrigley Field. The Cubs dropped behind the Brewers for last place in the NL Central.
Johnny Hellweg pitched six innings for his first career major league victory and Logan Schafer hit a three-run triple to help the Brewers.
Hellweg (1-3) allowed three runs on four hits. He struck out one and pitched around three walks to finally earn his first victory after flourishing in the minors.
“As innings went on, his stuff got better, location got better,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “I thought he pitched more with his changeup and his breaking ball. Hopefully, this is the guy we’re going to see.”
Brewers relievers Rob Wooten and Brandon Kintzler each pitched a scoreless inning then Jim Henderson pitched a perfect ninth for his 23rd save in 27 opportunities.
Hellweg was the Pacific Coast League’s pitcher of the year after going 12-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 23 starts at Triple-A Nashville. The 24-year-old made his major league debut on June 28 in Pittsburgh.
“I’ve seen him a couple times. He was in Nashville early,” Bogusevic said. “He’s got really good stuff. He was throwing strikes. He pitched well today.”
After Starlin Castro committed his 18th error at shortstop in the ninth, Milwaukee got an insurance run on Jonathan Lucroy’s RBI triple.
Trailing 2-0 in the fourth, Scooter Gennett drove in a run on a single and Schafer cleared the bases with a triple to right-center to put Milwaukee ahead 4-2.
“I just left a sinker right in the middle of the plate, and he didn’t try and do too much there,” Arrieta said. “He just shot the ball in the gap in the right spot to clear the bases. I just backed myself into a corner with those walks.”
Valbuena hit a two-run homer into the right-field basket in the second inning. It was his 10th of the season and first home run since July 20.
Bogusevic added a solo homer off Hellweg in the sixth to cut the Brewers lead to 4-3. It was his fourth of the season.
NOTES: Sveum said 2B Darwin Barney deserves to repeat as a Gold Glove winner. Barney had four errors and a .993 fielding percentage entering Saturday. “He hasn’t done anything for anybody to take it away from him,” Sveum said. “He’s had a heck of a year defensively again.” … RHP Scott Baker (Tommy John surgery) will not be limited in his first outing since Sept. 24, 2011 on Sunday against the Brewers, but he likely won’t throw more than 100 pitches, Sveum said. … Despite both teams competing to stay out of the cellar in the NL Central, the announced crowd was 34, 929. … Cubs RHP Chang-Yong Lim made his major league debut in a relief appearance in the seventh. He became the 32nd player to make his Cubs debut this season, a franchise record.
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