SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jake Arrieta might be starting a late-season push for an NL Cy Young Award. He’s done it before.
Arrieta threw eight scoreless innings of two-hit ball to become the NL’s first 16-game winner and Kris Bryant and Addison Russell homered, lifting the Chicago Cubs over the San Diego Padres, 5-3, on Tuesday night.
“The story line is Jake,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “He hardly ever lost the plate and his fastball command kept getting better as the game progressed. That was really reminiscent of last year.”
Arrieta (16-5) allowed a single to Alex Dickerson in the second and Christian Bethancourt’s double in the eighth. The defending NL Cy Young winner has two no-hitters in the past year, including one while he went 11-0 with an 0.41 ERA over his final 12 starts last season.
“It’s hard to replicate what he did last year,” Maddon said. “He just nailed it. So if he gets hot over these last couple of weeks you could see more of what you just saw tonight.”
The Padres brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth, but Aroldis Chapman got the last two outs for his 28th save after Felix Pena was charged with three runs.
“I was mad at Joe for taking me out,” Arrieta said. “But at the same time he said, ‘remember last year?’ Let’s conserve some things for October and late September. That is our game plan.
“We want to be as strong and dominant as we can be but still in the back of our mind that is that late September, early October, mid-October, is really the most important thing for the ball club. Could I have finished the game? Yes. But does it play in our favor to maybe conserve that for later? Yes.”
Bryant’s 33rd home run tied him with Colorado’s Nolan Arenado for the NL lead.
Russell smacked his fifth homer in five games, a two-run shot that put the Cubs ahead 4-0 in the fifth.
Arrieta won for the fourth straight start. He had six strikeouts and three walks.
The major league-leading Cubs are 21-5 in their last 26 games and 35 games over .500 for the first time since Sept. 25, 2008.
Chicago has scored at least three runs in 22 straight games and has hit a minimum of two home runs in each of its last seven outings.
Christian Friedrich (4-10) lost his eighth consecutive decision. He lasted 5 1/3 innings, giving up five runs and seven hits. He walked four and struck out two.
Bryant got his second RBI in the sixth when his sacrifice fly scored Arrieta, who was aboard on a one-out triple.
In the Cubs’ three-run fifth, Ben Zobrist stroked a run-scoring double which preceded Russell’s long fly. Zobrist had three hits.
“I definitely made some bad pitches,” Friedrich said. “It kind of got away from me.”
Bryant, who won the Golden Spikes Award at the University of San Diego, hit his second home run in two games in the third. His one-out blast put the Cubs ahead 1-0.
The Padres blew several chances early.
Travis Jankowski was picked off third in the first, and Arrieta, who is 27-5 since the beginning of last August, wiggled from jams in the next two innings thanks to two double plays, the first of three for the Cubs.
“The pickoff at third was rather large and the double plays, those are demoralizing for the other side,” Maddon said.
Cubs: RHP John Lackey (right shoulder strain) is progressing with his throwing program and will have a bullpen session this weekend in Los Angeles.
Padres: RHP Tyson Ross (right shoulder strain) will have a 45-pitch outing on Thursday for Class A Lake Elsinore. Ross was the Padres’ opening day starter and hasn’t pitched since.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (11-7, 21.6) has 16 straight starts in which he’s allowed three runs or fewer, the longest streak in the majors this season. He’s 2-0 with a 1.26 ERA in four starts against the Padres. Hendricks has won all but three road games this year.
Padres: Paul Clemens (2-2, 4.82), who was claimed off waivers last month, worked five innings in his last outing on Thursday but didn’t figure in the decision. He surrendered three runs on eight hits and three walks to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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