SAN FRANCISCO — Javier Baez hit an inside-the-park homer to back Jake Arrieta’s 11th win and Chicago beat the Giants 5-3 on Monday night in the champion Cubs’ first visit to AT&T Park since eliminating San Francisco in Game 4 of the NL Division Series last October.
Baez’s 16th homer took a tricky bounce off the low wall in right-center and deflected past oncoming right fielder Carlos Moncrief nearly 100 feet back in the direction of the corner in right. Moncrief eventually chased down the ball and Baez used a headfirst slide to beat a one-hop throw home and catcher Buster Posey’s tag attempt.
The NL Central leaders moved 11/2 games ahead of second-place Milwaukee, which lost 5-4 at Minnesota.
San Francisco rookie Ryder Jones hit his first career home run with a two-run shot in the sixth off Arrieta (11-8).
Arrieta struck out five and didn’t walk a batter in 61/3 innings, but the nine hits he surrendered matched his second-highest total of the year. Wade Davis got three outs for his 24th save in 24 tries.
Jason Heyward scored on Baez’s home run after his two-out single against Matt Moore (3-12). Moncrief played on a night starter Hunter Pence sat out for scheduled rest.
Moore struck out seven in six innings but gave up five runs and lost his fifth consecutive decision.
He is winless in seven starts since beating the Braves on June 20.
It was Baez’s first career inside-the-park homer, and the first by a Cubs player since Anthony Rizzo on June 29 of last season at Cincinnati.
It marked the 10th at AT&T Park history, fourth by a non-Giants player that includes Ichiro Suzuki in the 2007 All-Star Game. San Francisco’s Kelby Tomlinson last hit one on Oct. 3, 2015.
Anthony Rizzo and Albert Almora Jr. each hit RBI singles in the fifth as the Cubs added on, but they left the bases loaded in the eighth.
Arrieta is 7-1 with a 1.14 ERA over his last nine regular-season outings in California dating to Aug. 25, 2015.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon gave reliever Carl Edwards Jr. a night off and could stay away from him tonight after he gave up Matt Wieters’ tiebreaking grand slam in the eighth inning of Sunday’s 9-4 home loss to the Nationals.
“I have not lost any confidence in him,” Maddon said. “Probably take it easy on him the next couple days until he gets his feet back on the ground.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said it likely would be a few days before 1B Brandon Belt felt better from his concussion and would be re-evaluated by doctors.
Giants closer Mark Melancon threw again and if he felt fine afterward was headed to Class-A San Jose tosday for a rehab outing as he works back from a strained forearm.
Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto, nursing tender blister spots on three fingers of his pitching hand, was set to be examined by medical staff and could begin throwing in a few days.