Arrieta keeps dominant streak going, Cubs top Braves 4-1
ATLANTA (AP) Jake Arrieta believes he's maturing every day as a major league starter.
As the summer wears on, Arrieta is learning how to adjust to heat and humidity and the difference in preparing for day and night starts.
''It's a huge opportunity for individuals to lean on their mental ability and try to push the physical nature of the situation out of your mind,'' he said. ''Sometimes it can be tough to do based on the circumstances.''
Arrieta pitched seven dominant innings and Jorge Soler homered to help the Chicago Cubs beat the Atlanta Braves 4-1 on Sunday.
Arrieta (11-5) gave up three hits, three walks and struck out 10, throwing 73 of his 112 pitches for strikes. Over his last six starts, the right-hander is 5-0 with a 0.96 ERA.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said the coaching staff is getting Arrieta to focus on becoming one of the NL's elite starters.
''He's just figuring everything out right now - that's what's going on,'' Maddon said. ''And I hate to tell you, but there's actually some more in the tank there. There's another level of him.''
It was the second straight impressive start for the Cubs, whose starting pitchers have a 1.29 ERA over their last 16 games. Jon Lester gave up just two hits and one walk in 7 1/3 innings of a 4-0 win Saturday.
Shelby Miller (5-6) struck out eight and allowed four hits, four walks and three runs - one earned - in six innings for the Braves. Atlanta has lost seven of eight.
After James Russell walked Perez with two outs in the ninth, closer Jason Motte gave up Simmons' RBI single, but he retired pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes on a groundout in a non-save situation.
Arrieta had to grind through a tough seventh, but after Eury Perez doubled with two outs and Andrelton Simmons walked, pinch-hitter Joey Terdoslavich struck out to end the threat.
The Braves seemed helpless to solve Arrieta, who allowed two walks and had both runners in scoring position in the first before escaping the jam with a strikeout of A.J. Pierzynski.
Pierzynski, who broke up Lester's bid for a no-hitter Saturday with an eighth-inning single, doubled with two outs in the fourth for Atlanta's first hit, but Arrieta struck out Pedro Ciriaco.
Cameron Maybin's one-out single in the sixth was harmless, too, as Arrieta stranded him by striking out Kelly Johnson.
Arrieta, who set a career high for victories, became the first Cubs pitcher since Carlos Zambrano in 2011 to win more than 10 games.
''Nobody's ever completely locked in from start to finish,'' Arrieta said. ''It's up to you to understand the adjustments necessary and then have the ability to make them. And that's what I've been able to do consistently over a pretty good stretch of the season.''
The Cubs went up 2-0 in the second. Chris Coghlan singled and moved to second when Starlin Castro reached on Jace Peterson's throwing error. After a walk to David Ross loaded the bases, Jonathan Herrera hit a two-run single to center field.
Peterson blamed himself for hurting Miller's chances to win.
''I thought he did everything he could,'' Peterson said. ''Unfortunately, I didn't make a play behind him, and I think in this situation it cost us.''
Soler hit his fifth homer to make it 3-0 in the third. It was Soler's first homer since May 29 against Kansas City.
Coghlan's RBI double in the ninth put the Cubs ahead 4-0.
Pedro Strop pitched the eighth for Chicago, giving up a leadoff double to Peterson but stranding him at second.
The Braves cut the lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth.
Cubs: 2B Addison Russell is not injured, but Maddon gave him the day off to rest.
Braves: 1B Freddie Freeman recently had two cortisone shots to remove fluid and reduce pain in his right wrist. Freeman, who has missed 26 straight games, said he's no longer in pain but still uncertain when he will return. Atlanta is 11-15 without Freeman in the lineup.
KEEP IT ROLLING
The Cubs, improving to 16-7 against the NL East this year, earned their first series victory at Turner Field since Aug. 12-14, 2011. They snapped an eight-game losing streak in Atlanta on Saturday.
Cubs: LHP Clayton Richard (1-0), filling a rotation spot while Jason Hammel recovers from a tight hamstring, is 0-2 with a 6.33 ERA in five career starts against Cincinnati.
Braves: Rookie RHP Matt Wisler (3-1) will make his first career start against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Wisler has a 3.10 ERA in five starts.