BALTIMORE -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon wasn't panicked about his team's first half, confident that Chicago would be able to turn it on when it mattered most. And while it's only two games into the second half, Maddon's club has rewarded that trust.
The Cubs' offense -- which got homers from Albert Almora Jr., Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell -- brought forth another big night to back starter Jake Arrieta in Saturday's 10-3 series-clinching win over Baltimore at Camden Yards. The victory puts the Cubs back at .500 (45-45), as Chicago scored 19 runs in the first two games of the series, mashing eight homers.
"They came back [from the break] with a good mindset, a good approach, and it's showed in these past two games," Arrieta said of his teammates.
Making his return to Baltimore for the first time since he was traded to the Cubs in 2013, Arrieta held the Orioles to one hit over the first four innings before Caleb Joseph went deep in the fifth. The righty exited after a two-out infield single in the seventh, with a standing ovation from the Cubs fans at Camden Yards and some scattered applause from the home crowd.
"All in all, it was a great experience," Arrieta said of his return. "I was fortunate to be able to play here for a few years. Now I've moved on to this phase of my career. I wouldn't trade those years [with the Orioles] for anything. I'm able to be the player I am today because of what I went through in this organization."
Orioles starter Wade Miley continued a disturbing trend for Baltimore's starting rotation, going 4 2/3 innings and allowing seven earned runs. Almora got things started with a solo blast in the third inning while Russell -- who had the game-winning homer on Friday -- cranked a solo shot in the fourth.
"There's certainly a certain mentality that you want to be the guy that starts a good roll, but you've got to stay away from, when things get a little sideways early on [letting it get out of hand]," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "[Miley] started off sharp. I thought we were going to get another good outing from him like we did last time, but Chicago's pretty good."
Rizzo extended his team lead to 21 with a solo homer off Orioles reliever Miguel Castro in the eighth.
The Orioles' only other run off Arrieta came from Ruben Tejada's infield single to chase him. Joseph had two RBIs and was the lone bright spot for a Baltimore club that is 27-40 since May 1.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Heyward makes Miley pay: After Miley opted to intentionally walk Russell to load the bases with two outs in the fifth, Jason Heyward ripped a triple into deep center field to score three. Part of a four-run frame, the hit also chased Miley from the game.
"As crazy as it sounds, the numbers look terrible, but I felt more like my last start than the previous ones prior to that. I've just got to get back in the bullpen and continue to work," Miley said. "In the fifth inning, got the two outs, got the double-play ball, and then it just snowballed. Kind of did the same thing in the fourth. I was able to manage it. But, yeah, falling behind. Falling behind with two outs. Just not staying aggressive."
Said Heyward: "I just tried to get a pitch in the strike zone and not miss it. [Miley] has got a lot of good stuff and a lot of ways to get you out."
Arrieta's return: The right-hander was dominant against his former club, pitching 6 2/3 innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and three walks. Arrieta, who had a rough June (4.85 ERA), has turned in quality starts in two of his three outings in July.
"I'll take that [performance] the rest of the year," Maddon said. More >
"Never threw a ball straight. Every ball he throws has movement. Some come into you, some go away from you. He's a tough at-bat. He's an uncomfortable at-bat, the way he strides for right-handers. It's like the ball comes out behind you." -- Joseph, on what made Arrieta so tough
WHAT'S NEXT Cubs:Jose Quintana, acquired from the White Sox on Thursday for four Minor Leaguers, will make his Cubs debut in the series finale. The left-hander hasn't had great success against the O's (1-4 with a 4.29 ERA in six career starts). Maybe switching to the north side of Chicago will make a difference. First pitch is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. CT at Camden Yards.
Orioles: Looking to avoid a sweep, the Orioles will send Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET. Inserted back into the rotation at the end of the first half, Jimenez won his last start, against the Twins. The righty yielded four runs on four hits and four walks with three strikeouts in five innings.