Still, Arrieta was good enough even in a short outing to improve to 5-0 in the Cubs' 7-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
It was Arrieta's first appearance since his no-hitter last week in Cincinnati.
"Jake never really had to come in like he normally is used to," Maddon said. "You saw that, I saw that. In Cincinnati, he started out the same way but found it. Today, I just thought 92 (pitches) after five wasn't really worth it. We had enough of a lead and enough of a fresh bullpen to get him out."
Arrieta saw a streak of 24 consecutive quality starts end, and a fifth-inning run snapped a streak of 52 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings at home -- the second longest streak by a major league pitcher in the modern era.
"I was slightly erratic and command wasn't good pretty much from start to finish," said Arrieta, who had six days of rest between starts.
Arrieta allowed one run and three hits, walked four and struck out six for the Cubs (16-5), who are off to their best start since 1907.
The Brewers (8-13) dropped their second straight and fifth in six games as Taylor Jungmann fell to 0-4.
Any hopes for a second straight no-hitter were quickly dashed when Brewers leadoff batter Jonathan Villar singled to shallow left on the game's fifth pitch.
Arrieta then loaded the bases with one out -- including back-to-back walks -- but escaped unscathed after striking out Chris Carter and Kirk Nieuwenhuis on third-strike swings.
"It was an opportunity, certainly," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We put a good inning on (Arrieta). Some good at-bats from the first four guys then he made some pitches to get out of it."
The Cubs loaded the bases in the bottom of the first and collected two
Chicago catcher David Ross made it 3-0 in the second, sending Jungmann's 3-2 pitch out of the park for his second homer of the season.
The Cubs hit Jungmann for two more runs in the third. Anthony Rizzo's no-out double drove in Bryant from first and Tommy La Stella brought Rizzo home with a one-out double to deep left.
Jungmann departed with two outs in the fifth and the bases loaded. He was replaced by left-hander Chris Capuano, who coaxed Zobrist into an inning-ending popup.
Jungmann worked 3 2/3 innings, allowing five earned runs and six hits. He walked
three, struck out two and hit two batters.
"When I'm struggling, I tend to search instead of just compete," Jungmann said. "I think I still haven't gotten past that; I think I still have to get to that point. ... Right now, I'm a little timid, for whatever reason. That's never been me. But it's obvious when you watch the game."
Arrieta allowed back-to-back hits in the fifth, including a two-out double to Alex Presley that scored Villar from second and cut the Cubs' lead to 5-1. Arrieta was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the fifth for his shortest outing since working five innings on June 16, 2015, in a 6-0 Cubs loss to Cleveland.
Chicago made it 6-1 in the fifth when La Stella scored from third on Fowler's fielder's-choice grounder. It was 7-1 by the next inning on Addison Russell's fielder's choice groundout to short that scored Javier Baez.
The Brewers got a token ninth-inning run when Villar scored on a sacrifice.
Zobrist went 2-for-5 to lead the Cubs and Villar paced the Brewers with two hits.
Bryant left the game early and had an MRI after suffering a mild right ankle sprain while running the bases in the third inning.
NOTES: The Brewers placed 2B Scooter Gennett on the 15-day disabled list with right oblique tightness, retroactive to April 25. In turn, Milwaukee selected the contract of INF Hernan Perez from Triple-A Colorado Springs. ... Milwaukee also moved RHP Matt Garza to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Perez on the 40-man roster. ... Wednesday's postponement was the first for either team this season. ... Brewers RHP Zach Davies (0-2, 9.72 ERA) takes the mound Friday against Miami LHP Adam Conley (0-1, 5.12 ERA) as Milwaukee opens a six-game homestand. ... The Cubs placed C Miguel Montero on the 15-day disabled list prior to the game and retroactive to April 25 with lower back tightness. They selected C Tim Federowicz from Triple-A Iowa to fill Montero's spot. The Cubs remain home as they host the Braves in a three-game series starting Friday. LHP Jon Lester (2-1, 1.98 ERA) meets Atlanta RHP Aaron Blair (0-1, 5.06 ERA). ... The Cubs are in a stretch of 15 of 18 games at Wrigley Field, broken only by a three-game trip to Pittsburgh from May 2 to May 4.