Jays no match for Cubs' Arrieta
Toronto's visit to Wrigley Field ends in 7-4 defeat
Jake Arrieta may never duplicate the second half he had two years ago in winning the NL Cy Young Award.
The Cubs don't care.
They'll take what the right-hander is giving them now.
Arrieta pitched into the seventh inning and allowed a run, Javier Baez homered and drove in three runs, and Chicago beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-4 on Friday in a rare interleague matchup.
Arrieta (13-8) allowed one run and six hits in 6 1/3 innings to win his third straight start. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer and gone at least six innings in each of his seven starts since the All-Star break.
"Jake was outstanding," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Right now, maybe not as good as he was a couple of years ago, but he's pretty darn close."
Despite going 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA in 2015, Arrieta, 31, said recently that he believes his best pitching is still to come.
"That's the way I feel and I intend to back it up," he said.
Cubs put Happ through 'battle'
Ryan Goins had a two-run single and Kevin Pillar added an RBI double to highlight a three-run eighth for the Blue Jays. Miguel Montero, who began the season with the Cubs, went two for four with a run scored against his former team.
This is Toronto's second visit to Wrigley Field and first since June 2005.
Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ (6-9) allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings to snap a three-game winning streak.
"It was a battle for him," manager John Gibbons said of Happ. "He had to work in the early innings."
After Toronto went up 1-0 in the first, the Cubs answered with three runs in the second aided by Happ's mental mistake. With runners on second and third and one out, Heyward hit a grounder wide of first base. Smoak easily fielded it, but Happ didn't break to cover and Heyward beat him to the bag for a run-scoring single.
Baez followed with a bloop single to make it 2-1. One out later, Almora Jr. singled to score Heyward.
Chicago stretched the advantage to 5-1 in the fifth on Rizzo's two-run single.
Toronto scored three runs in the eighth off Pedro Strop to trim the Cubs' lead to one, but Baez's two-run homer — his 20th — in the bottom of the inning provided insurance.
"It means a lot," Baez said of getting 20 homers. "We to try to get there, to get 30."