CHICAGO (AP) — Jake Arrieta is doing his part to fill the gap left by Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
Arrieta pitched well into the eighth inning and Justin Ruggiano hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning Friday that sent the Chicago Cubs over the Atlanta Braves 5-4.
Arrieta gave up three runs and four hits in 7 2-3 innings. He struck out six and walked three.
The right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.30 ERA in his last seven starts.
Arrieta said he has taken more of a leadership position after Samardzija and Hammel were traded to Oakland last week.
"I am pretty comfortable with the responsibilities that come along with a role like that. It's something I embrace and look forward to continue to be in this role, to help guys establish themselves and combat the struggles that take place at this level," he said.
"Hopefully, help guys start to take off and produce at a high level for us," he said.
Arrieta figures to be one of the few mainstays along with All-Stars Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro as the Cubs continue to rebuild within the system.
Arismendy Alcantara singled with two outs off Jordan Walden (0-1) in the Cubs ninth and stole second. Ruggiano then got a hit that slipped past shortstop Andrelton Simmons to win it.
"The future is bright. That is very apparent. Guys like Alcantara and we have guys in the pipeline that can definitely help us in the future," Arrieta said.
The Braves, who scored the tying run in the top of the ninth on Christian Bethancourt's two-out single, have lost five of six following a nine-game winning streak.
Jordan Schafer stole three bases for Atlanta and was caught stealing once.
"Schafer had a great day. He stole three bags, he got on base, played nice defense. And BJ (Upton) been doing nice in the leadoff spot. I'm happy with those guys at the top of the order. Now we need to keep the line moving, and we will," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Arrieta left with a 4-3 lead but wound up with a no-decision when Cubs closer Hector Rondon (2-3) couldn't hold the lead in the ninth.
Rondon allowed a leadoff double to Jason Heyward in the ninth. After retiring the next two batters, Rondon gave up Bethancourt's single. It was Rondon's third blown save of the season.
The Cubs have won two straight after losing six in a row.
"We were probably a little down a little bit after losing those two guys. They were two big guys in the clubhouse. But we have a tight group and we all pull for each other. We will be all right," Ruggiano said.