Written by Joe Lucia at Bloguin
The Chicago Cubs are heading to an NLDS showdown with their arch-rival, the St. Louis Cardinals. In Wednesday’s NL Wild Card game, the Cubs topped the Pirates 4-0 at PNC Park thanks to yet another dominant start from Jake Arrieta and a bombastic offensive performance from Kyle Schwarber.
Heading into the game, all the talk was about Arrieta’s recent run of dominance. And sure enough, he delivered. Through the first five innings of the game, only two Pirates reached base – Andrew McCutchen on a first inning single, and Francisco Cervelli on a fifth inning hit by pitch. By the time the fifth was over, Arrieta had tallied eight punchouts, and it looked like even one run would be difficult for the Pirates to push across the board.
There would be no such issues for the Cubs. Dexter Fowler led the first inning off with a single, stole second, and scored on a single by Kyle Schwarber, giving the Cubs a 1-0 lead before Arrieta even took the mound or Gerrit Cole recorded an out. Cole settled down and escaped the rest of the first and second innings without anymore damage, but in the third, Schwarber would strike again. After Cole struck Arrieta out to start the inning, Fowler singled to right and Schwarber followed that up with a titanic home run to make it 3-0 Chicago.
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