Baez's inside-the-park HR sparks Cubs past Giants
SAN FRANCISCO -- Javier Baez hit an inside-the-park home run to open the scoring, and Jake Arrieta continued his pitching prowess in California as the Chicago Cubs beat the San Francisco Giants 5-3 on Monday night.
Arrieta (11-8) scattered nine hits over 6 1/3 innings and allowed three runs (two earned).
First-place Chicago (59-52) increased its lead over second-place Milwaukee to 1 1/2 games in the National League Central while snapping San Francisco's modest two-game winning streak.
Chicago closer Wade Davis remained perfect in save situations by earning his 24th of the season with a scoreless ninth.
In leading the Cubs to their 16th win in 23 games since the All-Star break, Arrieta improved to 7-1 with a 1.14 ERA in his past nine regular-season starts in California dating back to Aug. 25, 2015. Arrieta struck out five and didn't walk anyone as the Giants lost at home to Chicago for only the third time in nine games.
Staked to a 5-0 lead, Arrieta surrendered his first two runs in the sixth inning as rookie Ryder Jones lifted his first career home run into the right center field bleachers. Pablo Sandoval, who doubled earlier in the inning, scored on Jones' homer.
The Giants chased Arrieta an inning later when Joe Panik singled to plate Denard Span, who reached with an uncharacteristic one-out, two-base error on Chicago right fielder Jason Heyward.
The Cubs scored twice on the team's first inside-the-park home run in over a year. Baez hit a ball of the right-center-field fence that bounced back toward right after Carlos Moncrief badly misplayed the drive. Moncrief was playing right field in just his sixth game with the Giants.
With Heyward leading the way after his two-out single, Baez steamed around the bases and slid across the plate head-first to barely beat a tag from catcher Buster Posey, who had to wait for Moncrief's lofted throw.
Anthony Rizzo was the previous Cub to hit an inside-the-park homer on June 29, 2016, at Cincinnati.
Chicago added a run in the third when Jon Jay scampered home on a short wild pitch that struck out Willson Contreras for the second out.
Jay, who led off the fifth with a single, scored from second on Rizzo's single off Giants starter Matt Moore to make it 4-0. Rizzo scored later in the inning when Albert Almora Jr. singled to left-center.
Moore (3-12) gave up five runs on eight hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out seven.
NOTES: Monday marked the 10-year anniversary of Barry Bonds hitting his 756th home run to break Hank Aaron's major league record. ... The Cubs opened a trip Monday night that represents the final six games they are scheduled to play west of St. Louis this season. Chicago's final 46 games are against clubs in the East and the Midwest. ... Giants rookie OF Carlos Moncrief started in right field as a healthy Hunter Pence opened on the bench. ... Cubs C Willson Contreras was honored as NL Player of the Week after batting .455 (10-for-22) with a five home runs and 13 RBIs in six games.