Jake Arrieta goes 6 innings and earns a win in his Chicago Cubs return in a 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field

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Meghan Montemurro, Chicago Tribune
·2 min read
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Jake Arrieta labored through his first inning back at Wrigley Field with the Chicago Cubs, putting him on track for a short season debut.

The veteran right-hander needed 25 pitches to escape the first inning, giving up a run in the process, but a strikeout looking against Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco to strand runners on the corners got Arrieta on track.

That started a stretch in which he retired 11 of the next 13 batters he faced en route to a six-inning outing in which Arrieta allowed only one run in a 5-1 victory.

Saturday’s start represented Arrieta’s first at Wrigley as a Cub since Oct. 18, 2017, in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series. He settled down after surviving the first inning, needing only 59 more pitches to get through the next five innings.

Arrieta’s curveball was particularly effective. He recorded three of his five strikeouts and generated six swinging strikes with the breaking pitch.

The Cubs offense bounced back from a two-hit performance on opening day.

They erased the Pirates’ 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when Jake Marisnick hit an RBI single to right to score Javier Baez, who put himself in scoring position by stealing second and third. Marisnick would score later in the inning on David Bote’s sacrifice fly to put the Cubs ahead.

Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward hit the Cubs’ first home runs of the season. Bryant jumped on a fastball down the middle from Pirates starter Tyler Anderson, depositing it in the center-field basket in the third.

Heyward hit a no-doubter to right field in the sixth. Baez tacked on an insurance run in the seventh with a two-strike RBI single to extend their lead 5-1.

Right-hander Craig Kimbrel struck out the side looking in the ninth in a nonsave opportunity.

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