Jorge Soler went 3-for-5 and hit his 10th homer Monday as the Cubs edged the Pirates 8-7 in 13 innings.
The Cubs won on Miguel Montero's pinch-hit single in the 13th. Soler, who homered off Tony Watson to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, was gone by that point, having been removed on a double switch. Still, it was a much needed strong night for him. The Cubs are about to get Chris Coghlan back and they've been using Ben Zobrist more in the outfield in order to keep Javier Baez's strong glove in the infield. Soler needs to hit if he's going to play a lot during September.
Jake Arrieta stumbled Monday, giving up six runs in 6 1/3 innings against the Pirates.
Arrieta has thrown eight scoreless innings twice this month, but at no point has he really resembled the guy who won Cy Young honors last year or the one who opened this season with a 0.84 ERA through six starts. He's still better than fine, but he's not quite dominant. He gave up two homers tonight, bringing his total to nine allowed in his last 10 starts. He gave up a total of four homers in his first 16 starts of this year and 10 in 33 starts last year.
Steven Brault gave up three runs -- two earned -- in four innings Monday in his start against the Cubs.
Brault kept the Pirates in the game, which is all the team really could have been hoping for when they called him up before the game. He might get more starts in September, but the Pirates do have alternatives, including Drew Hutchison and Tyler Glasnow.
Javier Baez had four hits in six at-bats in Monday's 13-inning game.
He was twice thrown out at home plate, though neither was a miscue on his part. Baez entered the night with a .197/.227/.296 line in 71 at-bats during August. Still, his glove has been earning him a lot of playing time.
Josh Bell homered and walked twice before being removed in a double switch Monday against the Cubs.
If Clint Hurdle had it to do all over again, he surely would have left Bell in there. The rookie has been the team's best hitter since his recall 10 days ago, and the Pirates were playing short-handed on the bench tonight. It certainly wasn't worth taking Bell out when Hurdle made the move.
Matt Shoemaker yielded two runs in seven innings Monday in a win over the Reds.
Shoemaker struck out seven and walked none. It's the ninth time this year he's gone without walking a batter in a start. He deserves better than his 7-10 record and probably better than his 3.91 ERA; his FIP is about 2/5ths of a run lower.
Dan Straily was pounded for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings by the Angels on Monday.
Straily has been a pretty great stopgap for the Reds this year, but he sure didn't have it tonight, giving up four homers to the 17 batters he faced. He had gone 10 straight starts without ever giving up four runs, much less four homers. He's now 10-7 with a 3.92 ERA.
Mike Trout went 3-for-4 with a homer, a double and a walk in the win over the Reds on Monday.
Trout is the AL's best player, again. He probably won't be the MVP, again. Enjoy it anyway. With his two runs scored tonight, he reached the century mark for the fifth straight season. He's scored 78 more runs in anyone in baseball (557, Ian Kinsler next at 479) during that span.