Jake Arrieta used his arm and his bat to carry the Cubs to a series win over the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday as Chicago pulled out a 3-1 victory.
The Cubs took the final two meetings of this three-game set and finished the 100th year of baseball at Wrigley Field on a winning note.
They also prevented St. Louis from extending its lead over the second-place Pirates, though the Cardinals’ magic number for a second-straight division title dipped to three following the Pirates’ loss to Atlanta.
“We have to take care of our own business,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “No one has helped us all season long, why would they start now.”
Arrieta (10-5) followed up a shutout of the Reds with a 10-strikeout effort in his final start of the year. He allowed just two hits and one unearned run and provided the only runs he needed with a two-run triple.
“To pitch well against (the Cardinals) at this time of the season is meaningful,” Arrieta said. “It’s another positive thing to use in the offseason.
John Lackey (3-3) surrendered five hits and four walks over 6 2/3 innings and was done in by Arrieta’s gapper in the fourth.
With two outs and a runner on second, Lackey walked Logan Watkins to get to Arrieta, who had just four career RBI coming into the game.
Arrieta, though, laced a line drive into right field that split the gap and rolled to the wall, allowing both Luis Valbuena and Watkins to score.
Hustling for his first three-bagger may have taken something out of Arrieta, who had not allowed a hit through four innings but gave up consecutive singles to start the fifth.
With runners on the corners and one out, Peter Bourjos took off for second and slid in safely when Welington Castillo’s throw sailed into center field. Yadier Molina scored from third on the error, but Arrieta limited the damage.
Chris Valaika tacked on a pinch-hit, RBI single in the eighth, and Hector Rondon stranded a pair in the ninth to secure his 27th save.