MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Joe Mauer got a sellout crowd at Target Field going with an opposite-field double in the first inning.
Then Jake Arrieta got going.
Arrieta pitched a four-hitter and Dexter Fowler hit a grand slam in the eighth inning, leading the Chicago Cubs over the Twins 8-0 on Sunday. Arrieta set down 21 of the next 23 batters after the Twins’ only extra-base hit of the day from Mauer.
“Whether (Arrieta) wasn’t locked in right away or not, we put some good swings on him early,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “He found different ways to get ahead from that point forward and I think we backed off the pedal in terms of getting after him. We started to swing from behind the rest of the way.”
Following a 12-hit outburst in Friday’s win, the Twins managed just one run in the next 19 innings to drop the Cubs’ first series at Target Field since 2012. Arrieta (6-6) entered Sunday coming off a career-high six walks in his last start. He didn’t walk anyone in his second career shutout and first since Sept. 16 against Cincinnati.
Minnesota has lost 10 of its last 15 and has been blanked three times in June.
“We got a little tentative as the game went on,” Molitor said. “(Arrieta) pitched really well.”
Kyle Gibson (4-6) struck out two of the first four batters he faced, but labored the rest of the way as he finished with 102 pitches in a five-inning outing. Anthony Rizzo hit a solo home run in the fifth. Starlin Castro added three hits and an RBI and rookie slugger Kyle Schwarber drove in two runs.
“A lot of times, I was standing out there thinking: `How did they not swing at that,'” Gibson said. “They were patient and made me work hard. I don’t know if I’ve had many games in my career where I threw 20 pitches an inning.”
Before the game, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said the plan was still to send Schwarber back to Triple-A Iowa following Sunday’s game, even though last year’s No. 4 overall pick hit 8-for-22 with six RBI during his first major league call-up.
Schwarber dropped a two-run single to left center during the Cubs’ big eighth inning that helped force the Twins to use four relievers for the second-straight game.
Rizzo hit 6-for-13 with four RBI and a walk in the series for Chicago.
“He was imposing, had a really good series,” Molitor said. “You have to be careful every time he comes around.”
This series featured two of baseball’s most highly touted prospects in Cubs 3B Kris Bryant and Twins CF Byron Buxton. Both young players struggled all weekend, combining to go 1-for-22 with seven strikeouts.
The lone hit came from Buxton, who got his first career hit at Target Field on Sunday in the eighth inning, ending Arrieta’s streak of 12 batters downed with a single to left field.
Twins: An MRI on CF Aaron Hicks’ injured right forearm was “favorable.” GM Terry Ryan hopes Hicks won’t need more than 15 days on the DL.
Cubs: Tsuyoshi Wada (1-1, 3.68) faces Clayton Kershaw (5-4, 3.29) to start a four-game series at home with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday. Wada tossed seven scoreless innings in his last start.
Twins: Coming off a win over St. Louis where he allowed one run in seven innings, Tommy Milone (3-1, 3.67) faces the Chicago White Sox and John Danks (3-7, 5.16) on Monday night.
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