PITTSBURGH — With the Chicago Cubs supposedly fine-tuning things for postseason form, ace Jake Arrieta was roughed up by the Pittsburgh Pirates in an 8-4 loss Wednesday night.
Pirates first baseman John Jaso hit for the cycle and Arrieta (18-8) gave up seven runs and 10 hits — both season-highs — in five innings. But manager Joe Maddon said there isn’t cause for concern that the Cubs’ starter won’t be able to right the ship come October.
“That was probably the best strike-throwing I have seen out of him,” Maddon said. “He was throwing very well. Up until the home run by Jaso, there’s just a couple singles to the opposite field. That was it. Then, the last inning kind of got away from us too. But he wasn’t that bad today. None of it made sense to me.”
The Pirates hit three consecutive doubles to score three runs in the sixth inning and Jaso’s three-run home run in the fifth did the majority of the damage.
“It felt like a spring training game from the get-go, just wasn’t crisp and didn’t have much working,” Arrieta (18-8) said. “That’s about it.”
The Cubs haven’t made a plan yet for when Arrieta will pitch next. He is not scheduled to make another start this season. Arrieta said it doesn’t matter to him when he pitches next, he’s just focused on the postseason.
“We’re moving on,” he said. “I don’t like giving up seven runs. I’m (mad) about that. but moving forward, everything is fine. . I’ll throw sides up here, and whoever I face in the first round, they’re going to be in trouble.”
Jaso’s triple in the seventh inning gave him the first cycle in the 16-year history of PNC Park.
The triple off reliever Pedro Strop clinched the Pirates’ first cycle since 2004. The last Pirate to hit for the cycle was Daryle Ward on May 26, 2004, in St. Louis. The last Pirates’ home cycle was by Jason Kendall on May 19, 2000, against the Cardinals at Three Rivers Stadium.
Jaso isn’t exactly a typical candidate for the cycle. He has neither prodigious power nor speed, as he hit just his seventh home run and third triple of the season. Jaso didn’t even realize what had happened until he had already performed the feat.
“It didn’t really dawn on me until I was standing on the base,” he said. “I was looking at (third base coach Rick) Sofield and it finally just hit me.”
Against Arrieta, Jaso singled in the second inning, hit a three-run home run in the fourth and doubled in the fifth.
“It’s just a great memory to have,” Jaso said. “You don’t really want to take this blessing for granted being here.”
Pirates starter Jameson Taillon (5-4) allowed one hit and struck out four in six innings.
Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo hit a solo homer, his 32nd of the season.
The Pirates announced that they will play a two-game preseason series in Montreal against the Toronto Blue Jays March 31 and April 1, 2017. The Pirates haven’t played in Montreal since 2013.
Cubs: OF Chris Coghlan left the game with a mild left ankle sprain. He ran into the wall in left field attempting to catch a fly ball in the fifth inning. . Maddon expects OF Jorge Soler (right side) to be able to play this weekend.
Pirates: After being officially eliminated from the playoffs Tuesday, the Pirates will shut injured reliever Neftali Feliz down for the season, and will be “backing away” from C Francisco Cervelli, according to manager Clint Hurdle. Cervelli had hamate surgery in July and has dealt with several minor injuries all year. . OF Gregory Polanco did not play with a stiff neck. He had previously missed three games with a facial contusion following a collision with the wall in left field.
Cubs: Rob Zastryzny (1-0, 0.79 ERA) will make his first career start. In seven career appearances, his longest outing is 3 2/3 innings. Zastryzny started 14 games for Triple-A Iowa this season with a 7-3 record and a 4.22 ERA.
Pirates: Ivan Nova (12-8, 4.37 ERA) has lost two straight starts after winning his first five decisions with the Pirates since coming over from the New York Yankees at the trade deadline. He has given up 11 runs (nine earned) and 18 hits over seven innings in his last two starts.