Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta delivers to the Minnesota Twins during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Minneapolis, Sunday, June 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
Ann Heisenfelt
June 21, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) After botching an easy comebacker to the mound in the third inning, Jake Arrieta made certain he never lost control of the game.

Arrieta pitched a four-hitter and Dexter Fowler hit a grand slam, leading the Chicago Cubs over the Minnesota Twins 8-0 on Sunday.

Arrieta (6-6) walked a career-high six in his last start, but didn't walk anyone and struck out seven for his second career shutout and first since last Sept. 16 against Cincinnati.

''Stuff was crisp, actually got better as the game wore on,'' Arrieta said. ''Got comfortable and found a really good tempo.''

Arrieta was anything but comfortable after flubbing an easy chopper by Byron Buxton for an error in the third inning. Buxton eventually made it all the way to third base, but Arrieta escaped the inning without any damage.

Arrieta then set down 16 of the next 17 hitters he faced, and was extra careful not to make another mistake on three other comebackers later in the game.

''He was upset with himself, very upset with himself,'' Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ''It was definitely on his mind.''

Minnesota has lost 10 of its last 15 and has been blanked three times in June.

Fowler's second career slam capped a six-run eighth inning. The shot brought the several thousand Cubs fans at sold-out Target Field to their feet for a prolonged standing ovation and ''Let's go Cubs!'' chant.

Kyle Gibson (4-6) took the loss.

''As a team, we need to get back on track and that's what we're looking to do against the White Sox,'' Gibson said.

Anthony Rizzo hit a solo home run in the fifth. Starlin Castro added three hits and an RBI and rookie slugger Kyle Schwarber drove in two runs.

Before the game, Maddon said the plan was still to send Schwarber back to Triple-A Iowa.

Last year's No. 4 overall pick was called up to give the Cubs an extra hitter during this past week's stretch of interleague games.

Schwarber went 8 for 22 with six RBIs and dropped in a two-run single to left-center during the big eighth inning.

After Joe Mauer doubled off the left-field wall in the first, Arrieta set down 21 of the next 23 batters. The right-hander struck out the side in the fifth and has won three of his last four decisions.

Despite finishing with 122 pitches, Maddon didn't come close to taking out Arrieta.

''If he had been through a bunch of high-stress moments it would've been a different story, but he was not,'' Maddon said.

HAPPY TO HELP

Schwarber knew all along he'd be going back to the minors after this week, regardless of how well he performed. He was just happy for the opportunity.

''Now it's time to go down and start working on all the stuff I need to work on and hopefully get back up here,'' he said.

The Cubs have yet to announce a corresponding roster move.

ROOKIES STRUGGLE

This series featured two of baseball's most highly touted prospects in Cubs 3B Kris Bryant and Buxton. Both young players struggled all weekend, combining to go 1 for 22 with seven strikeouts.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins: An MRI on CF Aaron Hicks' injured right forearm was ''favorable.'' GM Terry Ryan hopes Hicks won't need more than 15 days on the DL.

UP NEXT

Cubs: Tsuyoshi Wada (1-1, 3.68) faces Clayton Kershaw (5-4, 3.29) to start a four-game series at home with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday. Wada tossed seven scoreless innings in his last start.

Twins: Coming off a win over St. Louis where he allowed one run in seven innings, Tommy Milone (3-1, 3.67) faces the Chicago White Sox and John Danks (3-7, 5.16) on Monday night.

You May Like