Jake Arrieta pitched two-hit ball into the seventh inning, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Chicago White Sox 8-3 on Wednesday night to move into first in the NL Central.
After a disappointing start to the season, the Cubs (53-47) are roaring again. The reigning World Series champions moved a season-high six games over .500 and a half-game ahead of Milwaukee after trailing the Brewers by 5 1/2 games just two weeks ago.
Anthony Rizzo had three hits and four RBIs, helping the Cubs improve to 10-2 since the All-Star break. Addison Russell hit a solo homer in the ninth, and Kyle Schwarber, Ben Zobrist and Jon Jay each drove in a run.
After finishing their series against the last-place White Sox on Thursday night, the Cubs visit Milwaukee for a three-game set this weekend.
Top prospect Yoan Moncada hit his first career homer and Alen Hanson also went deep, but the White Sox lost for the 11th time in 12 games. Third baseman Yolmer Sanchez committed a costly error and James Shields (2-3) lasted just four-plus innings.
The White Sox (39-59) played without All-Star outfielder Avisail Garcia, who is expected to miss a couple weeks after an MRI revealed a strained ligament in his right thumb. He went 0 for 5 in Tuesday's 7-2 loss to the Cubs.
"It's been like this one week and getting worse, worse, worse," he said. "So that's why I decided to stop because my swing is not the same and I don't want to keep playing like this. Try to get this thing better and try to get back on the field soon."
Arrieta (10-7) departed after Moncada's solo shot made it 6-2 with two out in the seventh. The 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner struck out five and walked two while improving to 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in five July starts.
Arrieta's solid performance continued a terrific run for the Cubs' starting pitchers, who are 9-0 with a 2.50 ERA in the last 12 games.
Schwarber singled in Rizzo in the fourth, and the Cubs broke it open with four runs in the fifth at Guaranteed Rate Field.
With no outs and runners on first and second, Sanchez misplayed Kris Bryant's grounder for an error that loaded the bases. Rizzo followed with a drive to the base of the wall in center, making it 4-0 with a three-run double.