#Cubs finish 1st half with win

Jake Arrieta threw a two-hit complete game and hit his first ML home run on Sunday to lead the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the White Sox and finish the first half, 47-40. That’s the best record at the break since 2008 (57-38). Arrieta struck out nine in his second complete game of the season. He also has now matched his career high in wins with 10. He joins Gerrit Cole, Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha as one of four NL pitchers with at least 10 wins.

“His stuff is definitely in the elite level of all Major League pitchers,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Arrieta.

As for his homer, Arrieta fell behind 0-2 against the White Sox’s Jose Quintana in the fifth when he connected. It’s the first blast by a Cubs pitcher this season and first since Travis Wood hit one last July 25 against the Cardinals.

“I would’ve liked to have hit the first one knowing it was a homer instead of having to sprint to first,” Arrieta said. “It was cool to do it at home during a day game right before the break and finish the whole game. It’s a special day.”

How could it not be? The Cubs were all wearing No. 14 on throwback uniforms from 1958 to honor Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, who passed away earlier this year.

“Everybody was wearing No. 14 today — you can’t lose, can you?” Maddon said.

— Carrie Muskat


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The Bucos just defeated the Cardinals for the third time in four games. T`is a pity we could not produce offensively recently, as we could have gained on the Redbirds in the standings, had our batters not proved `impotent.` The Pirates are just two and a half back of St. Louis. There`s still time for us. Are many opportunities left. The Cardinals and closer Rosenthal have revealed themselves as vulnerable this weekend. But don`t sleep on the Pirates.

Since Rizzo and Bryant are in both the Home Run Derby and the All Star game they won’t be getting much rest during the break. I would rather see them take a breather, get some sleep, relax and mend any accumulated bruises (Rizzo has been hit by pitch how many times?). We definitely need to be in top form for the upcoming games!

Yes, White, as I`ve opined in the past, am not a fan of the `Home Run Derby,`and I normally make it a point to avoid watching the overblown spectacle. But since three players I admire are participating this year, Frazier and the two Cubs, I feel compelled to watch.

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