Arrieta shuts out Pirates, Saunders on form for Blue Jays
Once again, the Pittsburgh Pirates failed to deal with Jake Arrieta in MLB action on Friday.
The Chicago Cubs ace struck out 11 as hit pitched another six shutout innings to help his side to a 6-0 win over the Pirates, improving his personal lifetime record against the Pittsburgh outfit to 9-1, while Matt Szczur's two-run homer got them off to a flyer.
His efforts were eclipsed by Michael Saunders' masterful work with the bat for the Toronto Blue Jays in their 13-3 drubbing of the Baltimore Orioles in hostile territory.
Not short of gun bats, Saunders hit career-high numbers as he blasted three homers and picked up eight RBIs from his five trips to the base, as Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson scored three runs each.
The Arizona Diamondbacks were 10-2 winners over the Philadelphia Phillies, the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 5-1, the Cleveland Indians defeated the Chicago White Sox 3-2 and the Miami Marlins knocked off the Colorado Rockies 5-1.
There was less luck for the Tampa Bay Rays, who came up against an in-form Jeff Samardzija and were almost shutout during their 5-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants.
The Boston Red Sox suffered their 29th loss in an 8-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners, the Kansas City Royals smashed the Detroit Tigers 10-3, the Texas Rangers won 1-0 over the St Louis Cardinals and the New York Yankees were 8-2 victors against the Minnesota Twins.
Elsewhere, the Washington Nationals beat the San Diego Padres 7-5, the Cincinnati Reds needed 11 innings in their 4-2 win over the Houston Astros, the Milwaukee Brewers suffered a 3-2 walk-off defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels edged the Oakland Athletics 3-2.
SAUNDERS EASES BLUE JAYS' BATISTA WOES
Saunders could not have picked a better time to step up to the plate - pardon the pun - than on Friday against the Orioles.
With Jose Bautista forced onto the disabled list with a toe strain, Saunders hit three homers and eight RBIs - both career highs - from five trips to the plate in a superb outing for the Blue Jays.
ORTIZ KEEPS SLOGGING
It was not the Red Sox's finest performance of the season, but David Ortiz still notched the 521st homer of his career.
Arrieta was at his best again against the Pirates, but the workload is shared brilliantly by his fellow starters.
His latest performance bought the Cubs' starters collective ERA down to 2.33 - the MLB's lowest since 1919.
Meanwhile, Mets' pitcher Bartolo Colon continues to venture into Hall of Fame territory with career victory number 224, matching Jim Bunning and Catfish Hunter.
DIAMONDBACKS LOOKING TO PILE PRESSURE ON PHILLIES
Looking for his 10th win of the season, Zack Greinke (9-3, 3.75 ERA) will look to stay hot against the struggling Phillies on Saturday. Greinke, who owns a 0.78 ERA over his past three starts, will duel with Jerad Eickhoff (4-8, 3.40 ERA) for Philadelphia.