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Chicago Cubs' Jake Arrieta no-hits Los Angeles Dodgers, fans 12

By
Joseph D'Hippolito, The Sports Xchange
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta. UPI/Brian Kersey
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta. UPI/Brian Kersey | License Photo

LOS ANGELES -- By making history, Jake Arrieta led the Chicago Cubs to a place they had not visited in seven years.

Arrieta pitched a no-hitter Sunday night as the Cubs earned a 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

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"Everybody who plays this game wants to accomplish great things," the right-hander said. "You think about that all the time as a kid. You see other people do it, and you want to be a part of something like that. It's hard to put that into words right now."

Arrieta (17-6) became the major leagues' leader in victories by allowing only two baserunners, on a walk and an error, and amassing 12 strikeouts. He threw 116 pitches. Carlos Zambrano recorded the team's previous no-hitter in 2008 against the Houston Astros.

"My stuff was pretty crisp from the get-go," said Arrieta, whose fastball maintained its 96 mph velocity from start to finish. "The life on my fastball was really good. I was able to get some good movement with it early in the game to where they weren't going to square it up. That was a big key for me, being able to throw the heater the way I wanted to."

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Arrieta tied a team record with his 14th consecutive quality start. Hall of Famer Greg Maddux established that record in 1982.

"He has that kind of stuff nightly," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "The ball looks like a Wiffle ball, even from the side. You can see the break on the slider, the cutter and the curveball. Right now, he's pitching on a different level regarding velocity and movement. It's really crazy."

With the crowd rooting for both the Dodgers and Arrieta, the 29-year-old Missouri native struck out third baseman Justin Turner, shortstop Jimmy Rollins and second baseman Chase Utley in the ninth inning to secure his place in history.

"In the eighth inning was when it really started to become a reality," Arrieta said about his no-hit chances. "Everything happens so fast. The sequences are happening so quickly. I've been close a couple of other times, so as the game wore on, I tried to use those past experiences to my advantage, try to stay calm and maintain the focus.

"I was asking Dan Haren and a couple of my teammates in the clubhouse, 'How did I get the last three outs?'"

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Chicago used the win to break a four-game losing streak and to take over the top spot in the National League's wild-card race by one game over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not since 2008 have the Cubs been in contention this late in the season.

"You can't say our at-bats were bad," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, whose team remains 3 1/2 games ahead of the second-place San Francisco Giants in the National League West. "This guy, his stuff was really good tonight. It's really good all the time."

The Dodgers were no-hit for the second time in 10 days after Astros right-hander Mike Fiers accomplished the feat Aug. 21 in Houston. No NL team was ever no-hit twice in a shorter span.

"The last one bothered me more," Mattingly said about Fiers' performance. "I thought we got out of the strike zone way too much and didn't feel like we were really ready to play. Tonight, I felt like we were in the game all night."

Arrieta joined the San Francisco Giants' Chris Heston, the Washington Nationals' Max Scherzer, the Philadelphia Phillies' Cole Hamels, the Seattle Mariners' Hisashi Iwakuma and Fiers in throwing no-hitters this year.

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Cubs second baseman Starlin Castro made two big defensive plays to preserve Arrieta's achievement.

In the bottom of the first inning, Castro fielded a grounder from Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley on the outfield grass. The ball took a convenient hop into Castro's glove, and Castro threw Utley out. Then in the seventh, Castro speared left fielder Carl Crawford's line drive with one hand.

Third baseman Kris Bryant provided all the offense with his 21st home run of the season, a two-run drive in the top of the first inning. Castro and center fielder Dexter Fowler each had three hits to lead Chicago's 13-hit attack.

Dodgers third baseman Enrique Hernandez reached base in the third inning when Castro misplayed his ground ball for an error. Rollins walked in the sixth.

Chicago jumped on Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood from the start. After left fielder Chris Denorfia walked with one out in the first, Bryant propelled a slider into the left field bleachers.

Wood (9-9) collected seven strikeouts in his six innings but threw 102 pitches. He allowed two runs, eight hits and one walk.

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Los Angeles left-hander Clayton Kershaw threw the previous no-hitter at Dodger Stadium, beating the Colorado Rockies 8-0 on June 18, 2014. The last time the Dodgers were no-hit at home was a 6-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves' Kent Mercker on April 8, 1994.

NOTES: The Cubs' and Dodgers' pitching staffs rank first and second, respectively, in strikeouts in the National League. Chicago has 1,121, seven more than Los Angeles. The Cubs' offense also leads majors in strikeouts. ... Chicago 3B Kris Bryant leads all major league rookies with 79 RBIs. Bryant's closest pursuer, San Francisco Giants 3B Matt Duffy, has 60 RBIs. ... Dodgers 3B Justin Turner was not in the lineup after starting the previous five games, the most in succession for Turner this season. Enrique Hernandez took his place at third base, though Turner saw action late in the game. ... The attendance was 46,679.

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