Baseball / Sports

Orioles' four-game winning streak ends in 4-1 loss to Cubs

CHICAGO -- The Orioles saw first-hand on Friday afternoon how much former Orioles right-hander Jake Arrieta has progressed over the past year since joining the Chicago Cubs.

Once a can't-miss piece of the club's vaunted "calvary" group of young pitchers, Arrieta could never find consistency as an Oriole and was sent to the Cubs as part of a trade last July.

And on Friday, one of the Orioles' highly-touted arms of the past faced Orioles pitching prospect Kevin Gausman.

Arrieta stifled the Orioles' bats, allowing just one run on four hits over seven innings in a 4-1 Orioles' loss to the Cubs in their first game at Wrigley Field since 2008, snapping the Orioles' four-game winning streak.

The Orioles (73-53) now lead the American League East by 8 1/2 games over the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays. Both teams play Friday night.

For a team with little to get excited about this time of year, Arrieta has emerged as the Cubs' ace, posting 14 quality start in his last 15 outings. He's allowed two runs or fewer in five of his last six starts.

Gausman, who had allowed just three homers over his first 13 starts this season, yielded two homers on Friday -- solo blasts by Luis Valbuena and Javier Baez.

Arrieta retired the first 13 hitters he faced before Chris Davis' one-out single in the fifth, an inning that ended with Davis being thrown out at the plate.

Arrieta's only mistake was a 0-1 changeup to Nelson Cruz, who sent the pitch into the left-field stands for his majors leading 34th homer of the season, setting a new career-high for Cruz.

Coming off a three-game sweep of the White Sox on Chicago's South Side, where they outscored the White Sox 17-6, the Orioles managed just five hits against the Cubs (56-72).

Gausman left the game after just five innings after his pitch count reached 101, the second time in his last three starts he's been forced from the game after five innings. He allowed three runs on six hits, tying a career-high with seven strikeouts to go along with no walks.

Two of the Cubs' three runs off Gausman came with two outs, including Baez's blast in the fifth, which came on a full-count. After Baez sent the 83-mph hanging slider into the left-field seats, Gausman showed rare emotion by yelling into the air.

The Cubs also scored with two outs in a two-run fourth inning on Logan Watkins' RBI single to centerfield. Valbuena's homer also came in the fourth on an 0-2 pitch.

The Orioles didn't have many opportunities to score against Arrieta and foiled one chance in the fifth. With two on and two outs, Caleb Joseph singled to right, but Davis was thrown out trying to score from second base.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter asked for a crew chief review to make sure catcher John Baker didn't block the plate. But after just 55 seconds, the play was upheld, ending the inning.

Cruz hit his third homer in his last four games with his solo blast in the seventh.

The Orioles allowed a third run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh on Arismendy Alcantara's infield single to Ryan Flaherty at second base, scoring Chris Valaika, who hit a leadoff double, from third base.

The Orioles brought the tying run to the plate off former Orioles reliever Pedro Strop with two outs in the eighth. With runners at first and second, Valaika made a nice sliding snag on the edge of the infield grass to retire Adam Jones to end the inning.

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