CHICAGO (AP) Jake Arrieta pitched seven dominant innings and also homered in his major league-best 21st win, and the Chicago Cubs stopped Pittsburgh's eight-game win streak with a 4-0 victory over the Pirates on Sunday night.
Arrieta (21-6) retired his first 18 batters before Gregory Polanco grounded a leadoff single into left field in the seventh. The right-hander hit a solo homer in the second and struck out nine while improving to 15-1 with a dazzling 0.89 ERA in his last 19 starts.
Pittsburgh (95-61) and Chicago (90-65) each have clinched a playoff spot and lead the NL wild-card standings, so the Pirates could see Arrieta again in the first game of the postseason on Oct. 7. But they would likely have ace Gerrit Cole for that one - Cole pitched seven crisp innings in a 3-2 victory over the Cubs in the series opener on Friday.
More from FoxSports
Of course, Pittsburgh still has a chance to catch St. Louis for the NL Central title. The Pirates trail the Cardinals by three games heading into a three-game set against the division leaders beginning Monday night in Pittsburgh.
A.J. Burnett (9-6) pitched six effective innings in the season finale against the Cubs, but Arrieta shut down the Pirates right from the start. Pedro Alvarez's leadoff fly ball to left in the sixth was Pittsburgh's first ball to leave the infield.
Kris Bryant had an RBI single in the first for Chicago, and Arrieta made it 2-0 with a one-out drive to right-center in the second. Arrieta's second homer of the season led to a curtain call for the crowd of 40,617 at Wrigley Field.
The Pirates threatened after Polanco's single in the seventh. Arrieta hit Andrew McCutchen with one out, putting runners on first and second, but Aramis Ramirez bounced into an inning-ending double play.
Starlin Castro hit a two-run double in the bottom half, and Travis Wood finished the one-hitter for his third save in three chances. Castro, Bryant and Miguel Montero had two hits apiece for the Cubs.
Ramirez received a standing ovation when he was recognized by the Cubs during a pregame ceremony. Ramirez played for Chicago for nine years, batting .294 with 239 homers and 806 RBIs, and plans to retire after this season.
Castro, who played with Ramirez, presented the slugger with the No. 16 from the Wrigley Field scoreboard.
Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo has missed just one game this season, and manager Joe Maddon is weighing the value of a day off.
The regular-season finale is next Sunday at Milwaukee, and then there are two off days before the wild-card game on Oct. 7.
''Before you get to that game, he's going to have plenty of rest,'' Maddon said. ''So, again, I don't want to take him out of a rhythm of sorts.''
Pirates: LHP J.A. Happ (6-2, 2.28 ERA) and Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn (12-10, 3.16) face off in the series opener. Pittsburgh and St. Louis split their first 16 meetings of the season.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-7, 4.23) gets the ball when the Cubs host Kansas City on Monday in their final scheduled home game. RHP Yordano Ventura (12-8, 4.40) starts for the Royals in the makeup of a May 30 rainout.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap