CHICAGO -- Jake Arrieta knew the Royals would be aggressive early and tried to groove a fastball past leadoff batter Alcides Escobar. No chance.
Escobar hit his second homer of the season off the first pitch of the game Friday, one of three solo home runs off Arrieta, to help the Royals beat the Cubs, 8-4, Friday in the first game of an Interleague series.
Alex Gordon also connected off Arrieta in the second and Salvador Perez did so in the fourth, marking the first time Arrieta has served up three homers in a game since Sept. 13, 2013, against the Pirates.
"They came out swinging, and I expected that," Arrieta said of the Royals. "It's tough when, as an opposing club, you come here, see what the wind is doing [and it makes you want to swing for the fences]."
Gordon also hit the first pitch from Arrieta for his blast, but it came off a sinker.
"I wanted the ball in, and again it leaked back to the outer third," Arrieta said. "He put a good swing on it. He hits the ball to the opposite field pretty well, as do a lot of their left-hand hitters. And the Perez homer, I think it was a 2-2 curveball that was underneath the zone. I think it split the plate. He just stayed back and went down and got it, and sometimes big league hitters are going to do that to you."
Said Cubs manager Joe Maddon: "Their game plan was to come out swinging. They thought he was going to throw a lot of first-pitch fastballs, and that's fine. You have to make a better located fastball."
The Cubs did rally to tie the game at 4, fueled by a two-run homer from Jorge Soler in the sixth and a solo shot from Addison Russell in the seventh.
Arrieta struck out five over seven innings and did not get a decision. He finished May with a 3.99 ERA after posting a 2.03 ERA in four April starts.