Cubs' Arrieta leaves game with hamstring injury

Preview: Cubs at Pirates

While Jon Lester was taking some time to rest his throwing shoulder at the end of August, Montgomery pitched two gems, giving up just one run over 13 innings. He attempted one more pitch under the eye of trainers before again grabbing his hamstring and removing himself from the game. He had a run-scoring groundout as part of Pittsburgh's seven-run eighth inning. Nova allowed five runs on five hits in three innings against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday, and the Pirates want to give him a chance to take a breather and reset.

Moroff hit a solo home run in the third and an RBI double in the seventh as the Pirates built a 5-0 lead off Arrieta and relievers Justin Grimm and Rob Zastryzny, who were pressed into early duty. But walking into PNC Park's visiting clubhouse after a 12-0 Labor Day loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, it felt like the defending World Series champs were breathing a sigh of relief. He came in 6-1 with a 1.59 ERA since the All-Star break, a run that stirred echoes of his brilliance two years ago when he went 13-1 after the break on his way to capturing the Cy Young. The Cubs hope to continue hitting the ball hard against right-hander Chad Kuhl, who has had trouble with several Chicago hitters including Anthony Rizzo (6-for-12, HR), Jason Heyward (6-for-10, HR), and Ben Zobrist (4-for-6, 2 HRs). He had an 0-4 record with an 11.07 ERA against them coming into the game.

Since the turn of the century, the Cubs are the seventh champion to sit in first place this late in the season.

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The Cubs will reevaluate the situation on Tuesday morning and decide if Arrieta needs to get an MRI. He has not given up more than three earned runs in his last eight starts and the Cubs have won his last three.

Despite some iffy moments earlier this year, Arrieta now owns a 3.36 ERA over 158 innings, with 153 strikeouts and 52 walks.

"I never really had a hamstring issue before", he said. "It's kind of a foreign feeling". It could have been a lot worse. No pop or anything like that. I tried to throw a warm-up pitch, and it wasn't going to happen.

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