CHICAGO — Zack Godley stared down one of the hottest lineups in baseball. He one-upped a resurgent Cy Young Award winner. And once again, he exited a start without giving up a run.
Godley pitched three-hit ball over six innings, Jake Lamb drove in all the runs, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the surging Chicago Cubs 3-0 on Wednesday night.
The loss was just the fourth in 18 games since the All-Star break for the NL Central-leading Cubs. The defending champions got shut down by Godley after pouring on a season-high 16 runs in Tuesday’s romp.
Lamb hit a two-run double against Jake Arrieta in the sixth and an RBI double off Justin Wilson in the eighth.
Godley (5-4) was every bit as stingy after tossing seven scoreless innings in a win at St. Louis last week.
“Zack Godley did exactly what he needed to do on a day where we were trying to come off a very tough game,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “I’ve always said pitching sets the tone and gives you a chance to play downhill baseball. … It was a really good combination of things and it was all set up by what Zack Godley did for us.”
It was a strong game all-around, with two teams playing solid defense and both starting pitchers dominating. Godley was just a little better. As losses go, Cubs manager Joe Maddon can live with this one.
“To lose that game, I have no issues, man,” Maddon said. “I have zero issues. We played well. They played well.”
Godley struck out five and walked two. In his past two starts, the right-hander has allowed seven hits while striking out 12 and walking four.
Godley and three relievers combined to retire the final 19 batters, with Andrew Chafin, Archie Bradley and Fernando Rodney each working an inning. Rodney got his 23rd save in 28 chances, and the Diamondbacks came away with the win after dropping three of four.
Arrieta (10-8) allowed two runs (one earned) and three hits in seven innings. He struck out eight and walked two. To Maddon, it might have been 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner’s best start of the season.
It was another encouraging outing for Arrieta coming off a strong July, though he still believes his best is yet to come. Can he be as good as he was two years ago?
“Yeah, it’s possible,” he said. “I don’t see why not. I think it’s possible for all our guys to elevate themselves and pitch at a really high level or compete on defense or at the plate at a level higher than they have currently. That’s just having a lot of confidence in the guys that we have.”
Maddon saw this as another positive sign for a team that was two games below .500 at the All-Star break.
“It’s trending in the right direction,” Maddon said. “Even though you’ve lost a game like that tonight, to play that game on a consistent basis, you’re gonna win a lot of them.”
Arrieta was sailing along until the sixth.
David Peralta singled with one out and shortstop Addison Russell bounced the throw to first on A.J. Pollock’s grounder, putting runners on the corners. Pollock stole second, and Lamb bounced a two-run double down the right-field line, giving the Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead.
Arrieta then hit Paul Goldschmidt in the left shoulder before J.D. Martinez grounded into a double play.
Lamb made it 3-0 with his double in the eighth off Justin Wilson, who made his first appearance after being acquired in a trade with the Tigers. Left fielder Kyle Schwarber slid as he tried to field the ball, which rolled all the way to the wall.
Diamondbacks: Manager Torey Lovullo doubts LHP Robbie Ray (concussion) will be ready for his scheduled start Friday at San Francisco. Ray, on the seven-day disabled list, is improving but has not participated in baseball activities since he was in the head by a line drive at St. Louis last week. Lovullo would not say who will start in his place.
Cubs: 2B Javier Baez was not in the lineup but was available off the bench. He appeared to be favoring his left leg coming out of the box on a groundout in the fifth inning on Monday, though he stayed in the game.
LHP Jose Quintana (2-1, 2.37 ERA) makes his fourth start since the Cubs acquired him from the White Sox, while Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke (13-4, 2.84) looks to extend his unbeaten streak. He is 5-0 in his past six starts.
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