Arrieta shines, homer-happy Cubs beat Braves 8-2
ATLANTA (AP) Chicago's four home runs gave Jake Arrieta confidence on a day he said he ''wasn't very crisp.''
The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner looked sharp to the Braves.
Arrieta allowed only four hits in seven strong innings and, backed by the homers, made an impressive return to winning form as the Cubs beat Atlanta 8-2 on Saturday.
Jason Heyward gave Chicago the lead with his first-inning homer, and Anthony Rizzo and Miguel Montero also hit homers in a four-run fourth inning.
After that, it was only a matter of how long Arrieta would last in the heat. The temperature for the first pitch was 94 degrees.
''Pitching with a lead, I always feel pretty confident,'' Arrieta said.
Arrieta (10-1) allowed two runs in his answer to his first loss of the season. He described his outing as ''OK for my part.''
Armed with the early lead, Arrieta looked almost unbeatable to the Braves.
''It kind of got away from us a little bit and a little bit is a whole lot with him,'' said Braves interim manager Brian Snitker of Arrieta.
Arrieta had two hits as the Cubs' offense rolled after being held to four hits in a 5-1 loss to Atlanta on Friday night.
Montero's homer was a three-run shot. Kris Bryant added a two-run homer in the fifth inning.
Rizzo returned after sitting Friday night with tightness in his back.
The Cubs (42-18) own baseball's best record and have won 13 of 17. They have 22 wins by five or more runs and improved to 38-2 when scoring at least four runs.
Arrieta's 3-2 loss to Arizona on Sunday was his first since July 25, 2015 and ended a streak of 20 consecutive winning decisions.
''The streak, whatever it was, is over,'' he said. ''Let's start a new one.''
Arrieta improved to 7-0 in seven road starts.
Matt Wisler (2-7) allowed five runs on seven hits, including three homers, in four innings.
Wisler has allowed six homers and 13 earned runs over eight innings in his last two starts. He also gave up three homers in a 12-6 loss at the Dodgers on Sunday and has allowed 12 for the season.
The Braves' first run off Arrieta came in the fourth, when Nick Markakis doubled and then scored on Adonis Garcia's single to center field. Ender Inciarte's triple in the seventh drove in Jace Peterson, who walked.
The two hits had Arrieta talking about his hitting - and the possibility of joining San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner in the All-Star home-run derby.
''If he's in it, I want to be in it,'' Arrieta said, adding ''I honestly think that would probably be the most adrenalin I would ever have.''
Arrieta has one homer this year after hitting two in 2015.
Actor and Cubs fan Bill Murray, sitting near the Cubs' dugout, drew an ovation when shown on the video board. Murray responded by sticking his thumbs in his ears and wagging his fingers at the camera. Actor Jason Bateman also attended the game.
Braves: Tests showed RHP Williams Perez has rotator cuff tendinitis. He was placed on the 15-day DL on Wednesday. ... RHP Mike Foltynewicz, on the DL with bone spurs in his right elbow, is throwing from 90 feet. ... SS Erick Aybar (right foot contusion) was scheduled to play with Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday night.
Cubs: LHP Jon Lester will try to give the Cubs the series win when he faces the Braves on Sunday. Lester is 3-2 with a 2.52 ERA in six career starts against Atlanta.
Braves: Rookie RHP John Gant will make his first start in the majors on Sunday, giving RHP Aaron Blair an extra day to rest. Blair was pushed back one day to Monday night against Cincinnati. RHP Julio Teheran also will have extra rest before starting on Tuesday night. Gant has a 6.17 ERA in seven games in relief with Atlanta. He had a 3.15 ERA in seven starts with Gwinnett.