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Arrieta strikes out 11 as Cubs blast Marlins 6-1

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[June 19, 2014]  By Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
 
 Arrieta strikes out 11 as Cubs blast Marlins 6-1
 
 MIAMI - On a day when everyone in the Chicago Cubs locker room seemed to be talking about power-hitting prospect Kris Bryant getting promoted to Triple A, some players on Chicago's big-league team did quite well themselves.

Right-hander Jake Arrieta struck out a career-high 11 batters, and Nate Schierholtz slugged a three-run homer to lead the Cubs to a 6-1 victory over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday afternoon at Marlins Park.

"We (as players) are aware of that," Arrieta said of third-baseman Bryant being promoted from Double A. "I'm sure he is going to continue to swing the bat well. Whenever the time is right, we look forward to seeing him up here."

Miami potentially suffered another loss more damaging than the game defeat when right fielder Giancarlo Stanton left after three at-bats due to a left wrist contusion. On his first at-bat, he hit his 20th homer of the season, which leads the National League.

Stanton was injured while crashing into the right-field wall in the first inning, trying to make a play on left fielder Chris Coghlan's double. He is listed as day-to-day.

"I saw (Stanton) grimace," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "But then I saw him hit the home run, and I wasn't too concerned.

"He wanted to stay in the game, but we got him out because we need him for the long haul. It's just a bruise. I anticipate he will be ready to go (on Thursday)."

Stanton said there is some swelling, which is being treated with ice.

"It was getting tighter and tighter the rest of the game," he said. "On swings and misses, it hurts a lot. But I will be there (Thursday)."\

The win went to Arrieta (3-1), who also doubled and helped the Cubs (30-40) take two out of three in the series. Arrieta, who pitched seven innings, allowed five hits, one walk and one run.

In his past two starts, both wins, Arrieta has struck out 20 in 14 innings and allowed a combined total of just one run.

"I'm not doing anything differently," Arrieta said. "I'm just commanding everything down in the strike zone and trying to force early contact. Strikeouts are just a byproduct of throwing several plus pitches for strikes."

Chicago was also led by shortstop Starlin Castro, who had three hits, including a pair of run-scoring doubles.

Castro, who has spent most of his career as a leadoff hitter before being put at clean-up this season, said he is fine with the move - to an extent.

"I like batting fourth because there are usually runners on base," he said, speaking in Spanish. "I just like that they put me in a spot and leave me there. If they keep moving me around, it breaks my concentration."

The loss went to right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (4-3), who returned to the team on Tuesday after taking time off for the birth of his son. Eovaldi pitched six innings, allowing nine hits, no walks and five runs.

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So far, Miami (36-35) has lost four of six games on this homestand. The Marlins have not won a series since June 5 against Tampa Bay.

Chicago opened the scoring in the first inning on doubles by Coghlan, a former Marlin, and Castro.

Miami tied the score 1-1 in the bottom of the first on Stanton's homer to right-center. He took a 91 mph fastball and hit it out by using an inside-out swing.

Chicago took a 5-1 lead in the sixth. First baseman Anthony Rizzo singled, and Castro stroked a run-scoring double to center. After a single by center fielder Ryan Sweeney, right fielder Schierholtz pulled an 85-mph breaking pitch to right for his third homer of the season.

"That was a big homer for Nate," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Schierholtz. "He's been grinding the whole season. It probably hasn't gone as well as he would like. But he keeps working. He keeps hustling."

The Cubs made it 6-1 in the eighth on second baseman Darwin Barney's run-scoring single.

NOTES: After Wednesday's game, the Marlins made four roster moves, activating C Jarrod Saltalamacchia (concussion) from the 15-day disabled list; promoting reliever and RHP Kevin Gregg from Triple A; and demoting to Triple A LHP Dan Jennings and rookie C J.T. Realmuto. Earlier in the day, Miami signed RHP Brad Penny, 36, to a minor-league deal. ... Miami RHP Chris Hatcher, a reliever, has struck out 12 of the past 16 batters he has faced. ... Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta had a 17 1/3-innings scoreless streak snapped in the first inning on Wednesday. It was the longest streak by a Cubs pitcher since Ryan Dempster in 2012. ... Cubs 3B Luis Valbuena entered Wednesday as the second hottest hitter in the NL since May 13, batting .367 during that span. ... Next up, the Cubs return home to start a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday. ... Miami plays host to the New York Mets on Thursday in the opener of a four-game set. That series will conclude Miami's 10-game homestand.

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