Arrieta leads Cubs past Pirates

Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta produced yet another top class performance as the Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 in the National League wildcard game.

Arrieta pitched a four-hour shutout as the Cubs took another step towards ending their 107-year World Series title drought. The right-hander yielded four hits while striking out eleven batters on a night on which his opposite number Gerrit Cole struggled.

Rookie Kyle Schwarber drove the game’s first three runs. The rightfielder singled to leftfield in the first innings to give the Cubs a 1–0 lead before cracking a two-run homer in the second innings that provided the base for Chicago's victory, their first in the postseason since 2003.

There was some late drama when the benches cleared in the seventh inning when Arrieta was hit by Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson. The incident didn't deter Arrieta, who would go on to close out the win.

Speaking after the match, Arrieta praised his side for their fast start.

"We came out and we fought early," said Arrieta. "We got one on the board in the first, then we kind of settled in. We got a couple more a couple innings later, and from there, it was pound the zone and try to get as many outs as quick as possible."

The Cubs now advance to the NL Division Series where they will face the St Louis Cardinals. Game One gets underway on Friday.