Follow live: Giants try to slow down Cubs


SAN FRANCISCO — Two years ago, Chicago Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta rode a remarkable second-half run all the way to a National League Cy Young Award.

Arrieta went 12-1 with a 0.75 ERA after the All-Star break in 2015, and he has been heating up since the break this season. In four starts since the break, Arrieta is 2-1 with a 2.05 ERA, a .154 opponents’ batting average, 22 strikeouts and seven walks.

The 31-year-old veteran will try to continue that roll on Monday night when the Cubs open a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants and lefty Matt Moore at AT&T Park.

Arrieta’s only loss since the break came in his latest start, Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He allowed two runs (one earned) and three hits over seven innings with eight strikeouts and two walks in a 3-0 defeat at Wrigley Field.

After that game, Arrieta (10-8, 3.88 ERA) was asked if he thought he could replicate his 2015 finish.

“Yeah, it’s possible,” he said. “I don’t see why not. I think it’s possible for all our guys to elevate themselves and pitch at a high level or compete on defense or at the plate at a level higher than they have currently. That’s having a lot of confidence in the guys we have. We expect to do some special things this season, and we shouldn’t think otherwise.”

The defending World Series champion Cubs (58-52) lead the NL Central, but their edge is only a half-game over the Milwaukee Brewers, and Chicago has lost back-to-back series at Wrigley Field. The Cubs dropped two of three to the Diamondbacks, then two of three to the Washington Nationals. Last year, the Cubs went 103-58, the best record in baseball, and finished 17 1/2 games ahead of the second-place St. Louis Cardinals in the Central.

On Sunday against Washington, the Cubs led 4-1 through six innings but gave up two runs in the seventh, five in the eighth and one in the ninth in a 9-4 loss to Washington. Cubs catcher Willson Contreras hit a pair of solo home runs, giving him 21 blasts for the season — 10 of those since the All-Star break.

Moore (3-11, 5.80 ERA) has been mired in a season-long slump, but he will try to recapture some of the mojo he had the last time he faced the Cubs at AT&T, in Game 4 of the 2016 NL Division Series. Moore allowed two runs (one earned) over eight innings with 10 strikeouts and two walks, but the Cubs rallied to score four times in the ninth for a series-clinching 6-5 victory.

“I remember being in the fourth inning and maybe like 60 pitches,” Moore said. “To wind up getting through eight innings, just so many things had to go right from the fourth inning on. For me, I don’t think it could get much better, but it definitely left us with a sour taste in our mouth.”

Arrieta is 4-2 with a 1.82 ERA in six career starts against the Giants, while Moore is 0-1 with a 4.50 in one regular-season start against the Cubs, a 5-4 loss on May 24 at Wrigley.

The Giants (44-69) are mired in last place in the NL West, but they beat Arizona 6-3 on Sunday and won the series 2-1.

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