'Elite' Arrieta hits first HR in outstanding outing

Cubs righty ended first half of season with two-hit complete game

'Elite' Arrieta hits first HR in outstanding outing

CHICAGO -- Jake Arrieta may not have been selected to the National League All-Star team, but on Sunday, he pitched as if he belonged -- or at least could be considered for the Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders.

The right-hander smacked his first Major League home run and threw his second complete game of the season, holding the White Sox to two hits and striking out nine in a 3-1 Cubs victory. With the win, the Cubs avoided being swept in the first crosstown meeting and ended the first half at 47-40, their best record at the break since 2008 (57-38).

"His stuff is definitely in the elite level of all Major League pitchers," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Arrieta, who won his 10th game, matching his career high set in 2011 with the Orioles and tied last season.

Arrieta's dominant victory

Arrieta is the first Cubs pitcher with 10 wins before the All-Star break since Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano both did so in 2008. He joins the Pirates' Gerrit Cole, the Nationals' Max Scherzer and the Cardinals' Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha as the only NL pitchers to reach 10 wins by the break. Those four will be in Cincinnati for the All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile.

"The individual accolades are great," Arrieta said, "but my teammates, they can count on me to come up big for us when the moment arises. I thought about [not being included] a little bit several days ago. I'm looking forward to having a couple days off and doing some things with the kids. I think it was a positive first half for us. We have to continue to get better."

Arrieta will continue to work on his hitting. Arrieta fell behind, 0-2, against White Sox starter Jose Quintana in the fifth when he connected on his first career home run to open a 3-0 lead. It's the first blast by a Cubs pitcher this season and first since Travis Wood hit one last July 25.

"I would've liked to have hit the first one knowing it was a homer instead of having to sprint to first," Arrieta said. "It was cool to do it at home during a day game right before the break and finish the whole game. It's a special day."

Broadcast remembers Ernie Banks

How could it not be? The Cubs were all wearing No. 14 on throwback uniforms from 1958 to honor Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, who passed away earlier this year.

"Everybody was wearing No. 14 today -- you can't lose, can you?" Maddon said.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.