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Arrieta pitches Cubs past Rockies

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[August 01, 2014]  CHICAGO -- Jake Arrieta didn't have his full repertoire on Thursday, but his mix of pitches was more than enough.

The right-hander allowed just three hits in seven innings for his first victory in five starts and 10th straight quality effort as the Chicago Cubs beat the Colorado Rockies 3-1 in Thursday's finale of a four-game series at Wrigley Field.

"Going in, I felt a little off," Arrieta said. "I really didn't feel I had a lot of life on my fastball today, but I was able to come out with a good mix of off-speed pitches for strikes below the zone for swings, mixing some changeups, and the cutter was pretty good today."

The victory was the third in four games as the Cubs (45-62) made the most of six hits and won their first series since early June.

Arrieta (6-2) broke out of a four-game slump that included a loss and three no-decisions.

Reliever Hector Rondon allowed two ninth-inning baserunners but worked out of the one-out jam and picked up his 14th save as he struck out catcher Wilin Rosario and shortstop Charlie Culberson to end the game.

The Rockies (44-64) were defeated for the fourth time in five games as left-hander Pedro Hernandez, called up Thursday from Triple-A Colorado Springs, worked 5 2/3 innings and suffered the loss.

Chicago also executed a trade before the deadline, sending infielder Emilio Bonifacio and left-handed reliever James Russell to the Atlanta Braves for a minor league catcher.

"Obviously, those guys have been good pieces for us," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "They're going to go into a race and I think they'll thrive in it."

The Cubs scored three times with none out in the sixth inning as Hernandez loaded the bases.

The first run came as Hernandez walked shortstop Starlin Castro to force home second baseman Arismendy Alcantara.

Right fielder Justin Ruggiano made it 2-0 with a long sacrifice to center to drive in left fielder Chris Coughlan. Third baseman Luis Valbuena grounded into a fielder's choice that sent first baseman Anthony Rizzo home for a 3-0 lead.

Hernandez departed in favor of right-hander Matt Belisle, who got catcher Welington Castillo to ground out to end the inning.

Hernandez (0-1) gave up three earned runs and six hits, struck out two and walked two.

"He did a nice job, got us in the the sixth and got us in position to win the game and that's all we ask for," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "The bullpen came in and did a nice job. We just couldn't get the big hit to put together a big inning."

Arrieta gave up one run in the seventh inning when third baseman Nolan Arenado doubled home left fielder Corey Dickerson. Arrieta was pulled for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh and was replaced by left-hander Brian Schlitter.

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Arrieta gave up just one earned run, walked two and struck out seven while throwing 96 pitches in seven innings.

"Arrieta was really really good," Weiss said. "Toward the end of his rope there we had an opportunity, but (the Rockies) could never get to him."

Rockies left-hander Tyler Matzek was originally set to pitch for Colorado, but after working in the 16th inning of Tuesday's 4-3 marathon loss to the Cubs, Weiss opted for Hernandez.

Weiss said Matzek be inserted back in the rotation at a future date.

The Cubs, who last won a series by taking two of three from Miami on June 6-8, open a six-game road swing Friday with the first of three games against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

The Rockies begin an three-game interleague series at Detroit on Friday before returning home to host the Cubs for three games beginning next Tuesday.

NOTES: The Rockies purchased the contract of LHP Pedro Hernandez on Thursday and promptly inserted him in the lineup for his first major league start since Sept. 27, 2013. They also optioned RHP Rob Scahill to Triple-A Colorado Springs after two appearances and a victory and designated INF Ryan Wheeler for assignment after he hit .232 in 31 games. ... LHP Franklin Morales (5-5, 5.18 ERA) makes his 16th start of the season and 25th overall appearance on Friday in Detroit. ... RHP Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 2.33 ERA) makes his fourth career big league start on Friday as the Cubs open a three-game weekend series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. ... RHP Neil Ramirez was expected to work at the Cubs' Class A Daytona club as he recovers from triceps soreness. He went on the 15-day disabled list Sunday. ... Cubs 3B Luis Valbuena has hit safely in eight of his last 11 games and has homered in three of his last eight. His .335 on-base percentage is 83 points higher than his .252 batting average. ... SS Starlin Castro had gone a career-high 37 games without an error dating to June 18. It's the longest streak by a Cubs shortstop since Ryan Theriot had a 46-game run in 2007.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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