Craig Kimbrel used every bit of his once elite stuff while finishing off the reeling Pittsburgh Pirates in a 4-2 win on Thursday to become the 12th pitcher in major league history with 350 career saves.
Kimbrel struck out Dustin Fowler and pinch-hitter Wilmer Difo with the bases loaded to end the eighth, then retired the Pirates in order for his first five-out save of his 12-year big league career.
Kimbrel's 22-pitch performance didn't exactly leave him gassed. The 32-year-old spent nearly an hour going through his usual postgame workout routine.
The Cubs broke out of an opening funk by pounding out 11 hits against Tyler Anderson (0-2) and four relievers. Javy Baez hit a go-ahead two-run shot for the Cubs in the sixth. Rizzo and Bryant also homered as Chicago raised its major league-worst team batting average from .143 to .157.
Jake Arrieta (2-0) survived a sometimes wobbly six innings to improve to 14-6 against the Pirates. Arrieta allowed two runs, seven hits and three walks and four strikeouts.
Zach Davies (1-0, 3.18 ERA) will go for his second victory over the Pirates in a week when the teams meet on Saturday.