SAN FRANCISCO -- Slump? What slump?
The Chicago Cubs' offense returned to the spotlight in a big way Friday night, hitting three home runs -- including two back-to-back -- in the process of ending the San Francisco Giants' eight-game winning streak, pulling away for an 8-1 win.
The Cubs did it by returning to what they do best: wearing down the opponent's starting pitcher. In this case, Jake Peavy left the mound in the second inning having thrown 55 pitches. A 10-pitch at-bat by Jason Heyward in the first inning foreshadowed Peavy's quick exit. Then came the boppers.
Kris Bryant hit a three-run home run in the second, and Ben Zobrist and Jorge Soler hit bombs in the eighth. Bryant had a run-scoring single in the ninth, giving him 30 RBIs on the year. Score early, add on late. We've seen that formula somewhere before, though it took a few days off before returning in a big way Friday against a marquee opponent.
Meanwhile, Jake Arrieta's fabulous run continues as the majors' ERA leader once again kept his opponent at bay for another solid outing. Arrieta lasted seven innings, giving up only one run and four hits, striking out eight, including his final batter on a foul tip. He wasn't overpowering or dominating -- at least not by his standards -- but he was still really good in throwing 111 pitches. He's 8-0 with a 1.29 ERA, and the Cubs have won his last 22 regular-season starts, one shy of the most consecutive victories since 1913.
The lone down moment on the night occurred in the first inning when Heyward left after an amazing catch in right-center field. He injured his right hip area and was still being evaluated midgame.