Bryant, Arrieta lead Cubs to throwback win over Tigers
The Cubs moved from the site of their World Series victory to Detroit. But didn't it feel a little like old times Friday?
Kris Bryant homered and Jake Arrieta nearly pitched six scoreless innings as the Cubs snapped their three-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory at Detroit. This one also ended a string of seven straight 1-run decisions for the Cubs.
"It was nice," manager David Ross said. "It felt like we had breathing room when you've got the bullpen coming out throwing the way they were throwing."
When last seen, Bryant needed the day off against Cleveland on Wednesday due to an illness. When he did come in to pinch-hit he was struck by a pitch on the hand.
"I had trouble breathing in that sixth, seventh inning, I just couldn't catch my breath," Bryant said. "I've just had a bug. My whole family kind of has it, my little guy is going through it right now. Then coming in the game and getting smoked on the wrist at 97, that didn't feel great either.
"I didn't feel great, but it's not broken or anything. I'm glad I played today."
Bryant connected for an opposite-field home run in the third inning off Tigers rookie left-hander Tarik Skubal to put the Cubs up 2-0. His 10 home runs are second in the National League behind Ronald Acuna. Bryant later scored the fourth run on a bloop single by Javy Baez.
"It looked like the KB of old, driving the home run to right," Ross said. "Then that last line drive that got caught by (Nomar) Mazara out in right, but that just a nice easy swing where he just touched the baseball and it jumped off his bat and carried all the way out to the shoetips out in right."
Arrieta (4-3) was back after missing a start due to a cut on his right thumb.
Against Detroit, he was one out away from completing six scoreless innings, but then gave up back-to-back home runs to Jake Rogers and Robbie Grossman.
Arrieta had been coasting to that point. He gave up 4 hits and a walk, but the Cubs turned 3 double plays. Arrieta has the lowest ERA of any Cubs starter at 4.10 and threw just 78 pitches.
"I was able to maintain a pretty good grip on everything and the seams on the ball weren't really a big factor," he said. "The thumb really wasn't an issue. I was a little stale, though. I threw a lot of sinkers and induced a lot of weak contact. They were swinging early and often, which is a good sign. The pitch count was low. Should have gone deeper in the game, but it is what it is and a win's a win. It's a nice way to start the series."
Ross said he did consider using Arrieta in the seventh inning, but relievers Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel all threw perfect innings. Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth for his seventh save.
The other hitting star for the Cubs was left fielder Joc Pederson, who went 3-for-4. After an early-season slump, Pederson is now 14-for-26 at the plate, with 13 singles, in the last six games.