Inside-the-park shot sparks Cubs to victory

Inside-the-park shot sparks Cubs to victory

SAN FRANCISCO -- Appearing at AT&T Park for the first time since they mounted a four-run, ninth-inning rally to win Game 4 of the National League Division Series and advance to the NL Championship Series, the Chicago Cubs needed fewer dramatics Monday, racing to a five-run lead through five innings before holding on for a 5-3 triumph.

Cubs starter Jake Arrieta (11-8) improved to 5-2 in seven career starts against the Giants but allowed three runs (two earned) and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings, contrasting with the 2.08 ERA he posted in his previous four AT&T Park outings. Rookie Ryder Jones delivered a two-run homer, his first Major League long ball, in the sixth inning to help the Giants apply pressure.

Arrieta said he noticed he felt off physically before the game but used his five-run lead to his advantage, pitching to contact.

"I stayed within myself and threw some pretty good pitches," Arrieta said. "Threw some changeups in counts where I felt like they were looking for fastballs. Or spinning a good breaking ball to get weak contact. That's what I was able to do. That was the key to tonight for me."

Arrieta induces a double play

Giants starter Matt Moore (3-12) allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings, coming nowhere near matching his eight-inning, two-run, 10-strikeout gem last fall against the Cubs in Game 4. Moore, a left-hander, could not capitalize on traditional percentages and allowed six hits to left-handed batters.

"Lefties are having too much success off of him," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He has too good of stuff to have left-handers hitting him like this. This is what we have to work on, too."

Javier Baez's two-run, inside-the-park homer in the second inning galvanized Chicago's offense. With the win, the Cubs moved to 1 1/2 games ahead of the Brewers in the NL Central race.

Keeping it in the park: Baez notched his first inside-the-park homer on a fastball offering from Moore. Baez lifted the ball to the 421-foot marker in Triples Alley and clocked a home-to-home speed of 16.11 seconds as measured by Statcast™, beating Giants right fielder Carlos Moncrief's 307-foot throw that nearly got the sliding second baseman. It was the 10th inside-the-park homer in AT&T Park history and first by a visitor since 2014.

Statcast: Baez rounds the bases

"It's one of the things you can't really describe just because of the way it happened and how quick it was," said Jason Heyward, who scored on the play. "I was like, 'OK, inside-the-park homer. Here we go.' It was just huge to get an early lead."

"His presence was definitely felt out there," Moore said of Moncrief.

Cain can: Making his first significant relief appearance since moving from the starting rotation to the bullpen, right-hander Matt Cain excelled by blanking Chicago over the final three innings. Cain looked particularly impressive in the ninth, escaping a two-on, one-out jam with assistance from an inning-ending double-play grounder.

"I thought he did a good job of adjusting to pitching out of the bullpen," Bochy said. "[He] kept 'em there and gave us a chance."

Cain escapes bases-loaded jam

"Ryder hit his first home run. I think that's the second first-career home run I've given up this year. I might send him a bottle of champagne or something tomorrow. I'm happy for him. That's a big moment in his career." -- Arrieta, on Jones' two-run homer

The Giants unsuccessfully challenged a throw to first during the Cubs' half of the ninth inning. Kris Bryant led off the inning with a single, and a replay review determined that the call stands.

Bryant safe following challenge

Cubs: Jose Quintana (2-1, 4.13 ERA with the Cubs) takes the mound in his fifth start since joining the Cubs in a 9:15 p.m. CT game Tuesday. His last time out -- also against an NL West team -- was trying. He allowed six runs in five innings to the D-backs.

Giants: Ty Blach will start Tuesday's 7:15 p.m. PT rematch for the Giants, who can use a repeat of the offense he provided in his most recent start against Oakland last Thursday, when he hit a three-run homer. Blach became the third Giants rookie pitcher to drive in at least three runs in a game since 2005.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for and covered the Cubs on Monday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.