Cubs beat Pirates 4-0 behind Arrieta in NL wild card game – Chicago ace Jake Arrieta dominated Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, giving up just four hits in nine scoreless innings as the Cubs defeated the Pirates 4-0 in the National League wild-card game.
Arrieta struck out 11 Pirates and gave up no walks as Chicago advanced to the NL Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals starting Friday.
In spite of having the second-best record in all of baseball with 98 wins this season, Pittsburgh’s season is over. The Pirates had the misfortune of being in the same division with St. Louis, who won 100 games. The Pirates were therefore relegated to the one-game winner-take-all wild card round for the second straight year.
“I’m exhausted. I haven’t felt this way all year,” said Arrieta, whose 22 regular-season wins led the majors. “This atmosphere, the energy was unbelievable. Tried to use it to the best of my ability. They were loud, they were really loud.”
The Cubs’ Dexter Fowler hit a home run and scored three times, and rookie teammate Kyle Schwarber also hit a homer.
One of baseball’s youngest teams, the Cubs and their ace Arrieta were not rattled by the raucous crowd at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.
“You don’t think that these guys are 21, 23 years old, because they don’t play like it,” said Arrieta. “They have elevated their play to a level that’s beyond their years, and it’s one of the big reasons we’re here.”
Both benches and bullpens cleared in the seventh when Arrieta was plunked by a pitch from Pirate reliever Tony Watson. Pittsburgh’s Sean Rodriguez was ejected and then proceeded to attack the water cooler in the Pirate dugout.
Arrieta has been unbelievable the past few months. In his last 10 starts he is 9-0 with a 0.24 ERA, lower than any pitcher in major league history over any 10-game stretch.
The Cubs are 14-0 in Arrieta’s last 14 starts. He hasn’t lost a game since July.
And with this game against Pittsburgh, he became the first pitcher to ever throw a postseason shutout with double-digit strikeouts and no walks.
Cubs pitcher Dan Haren, who was traded to Chicago in late July, said of Arrieta “since I got here, he’s given up four earned runs. So it’s not just me who’s never seen anything like this. Nobody has ever seen anything like it.”