Sports

Cubs shoot for seventh consecutive win

(SportsNetwork.com) - Jake Arrieta tries to remain unbeaten in his career against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday when the Chicago Cubs go for a three- game sweep at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs have won six games in a row for the first time since 2011 when they won seven straight from July 31 to Aug. 6.

"There's no outliers," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Everybody is on the same page, everybody gets the team concept, everybody is pulling for each other."

Arrieta has compiled a 4-0 mark with a 2.70 ERA in five career starts against the Pirates. On April 20 at PNC Park, he gave up one run on four hits over seven innings. The right-hander struck out seven and walked none in the 5-2 win.

On Tuesday, Arrieta tossed eight solid innings in a 6-1 win over the Mets at Wrigley Field. He bounced back from dropping his last two starts to surrender just one run on three hits and two walks with a season-high 10 strikeouts.

A.J. Burnett is the mound opposition for Sunday's contest. The righty's last start resulted in a 7-2 win at Philadelphia Tuesday. Burnett allowed just two runs -- one earned -- on six hits with five strikeouts.

In 14 career starts against the Cubs, Burnett is 7-4 with a 3.13 ERA. He opposed Arrieta on April 20 and didn't get a decision after throwing six innings.

On Saturday, Jon Lester struck out seven over seven solid innings in Chicago's 4-1 win.

Lester (4-2) pitched into the seventh inning for third time in his last four outings after his poor start to the season that saw him allow 12 runs in 15 2/3 innings over his first three starts. Travis Wood made his first relief appearance since 2011 and earned his first career save.

Anthony Rizzo collected two hits, a run batted in and his eighth steal, and Starlin Castro drove in two runs despite finishing 0-for-3.

Gerrit Cole (5-2) was nearly as good as Lester but did not receive much support. He struck out eight and only allowed two runs in six innings. Sean Rodriguez homered in the third inning to account for the Pirates' only run.

"They were fouling pitches off, and I wasn't executing with two strikes," said Cole. "So it's a little bit frustrating."

Chicago has won six of its nine matchups with the Pirates this season. The Cubs have not won a season series against the Pirates since 2009.