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Cubs' Arrieta stymies Reds

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jun 25 2014 12:23:10 AM CDT
Updated On: Jun 25 2014 12:23:11 AM CDT

CHICAGO -- Jake Arrieta knew he was having a special night.

The Chicago Cubs right-hander was perfect through six innings Tuesday night. The flawless game didn't last, but Arrieta allowed just three hits over seven innings in a 7-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field.

"I knew that's kind of what was going on from the get-go, most guys do when you're in a situation like that," Arrieta said of the perfect-game bid. "But I just wanted to continue to execute pitches and try and pitch deep in the game.

"That was the only couple of thoughts going through my head."

Arrieta, who opened the season on the disabled list due to right shoulder tightness and wasn't activated until May 3, gave up two runs, struck out nine and walked none.

Arrieta, acquired by Chicago (32-43) in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles on July 2, 2013, faced Cincinnati (38-38) for the first time in his career.

"He was excellent," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "He was commanding his pitches. His pitches had life, his breaking ball was sharp. Some of the fastballs those guys were taking underneath were pretty good."

Reds leadoff batter Billy Hamilton broke up Arrieta's bid for history in the seventh with a leadoff single, and Cincinnati put up three hits and scored twice in the inning.

Leading 2-0 in the sixth, the Cubs loaded the bases, and Reds starter Homer Bailey forced in a run when he hit Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro with a pitch.

Bailey was then pulled for right-handed reliever J.J. Hoover, who gave up a sacrifice fly to right fielder Nate Schierholtz to score center fielder Junior Lake for a 4-0 lead.

Bailey (7-4) was responsible for four runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked two.

Arrieta (4-1) led off the sixth inning with a walk and spent a lot of time on the basepaths.

"I was pretty gassed there, unfortunately," he said. "Pretty humid night, long inning in the sixth and running the bases, which really isn't all that tough in itself. But couple that with being on the mound and having that layoff adds a little to it."

Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco ended the shutout with two outs in the seventh, singling home Hamilton from second to trim the Cubs' lead to 4-1. Right fielder Jay Bruce doubled to deep right-center to score Mesoraco and make it 4-2.

"You get to the meat of their order later in the game and it's tough to continue to put those guys away," Arrieta said. "It's a tough lineup to handle."

Arrieta threw 94 pitches and was pulled for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh.

Reds right-handed reliever Sam LeCure gave up two eighth-inning hits and walked Castro to load the bases with one out. Reds first baseman Joey Votto bobbled a Schierholtz grounder, allowing two runs to score.

Catcher Welington Castillo's sacrifice fly drove in Castro to make it 7-2.

Mesoraco hit a one-out solo home run to left in the ninth off Cubs right-handed reliever Neil Ramirez to tie a Reds franchise record by homering for the fifth consecutive game.

Neither team managed a hit until the bottom of the fourth.

First baseman Anthony Rizzo broke the hitless run with a first-pitch home run to right field -- his 17th of the season and second in succeeding days -- for a 1-0 Cubs lead.

The Cubs made it 2-0 when Schierholtz led off the fifth with a single to right and scored on Castillo's double to right. Castillo tried to stretch the hit into a triple but was tagged by Todd Frazier after a relay to third.

Reds manager Bryan Price praised both starting pitchers.

"I haven't seen a lot of Arrieta, but he was very, very impressive," Price said. "Great start. (Bailey) was matching Arrieta really pitch for pitch and had really good stuff -- the good velocity, the fastball command, the good hard slider, the split ... and strikeouts early in the game.

"But then from the home run on, it wasn't the same easiness to his execution."

The start of the game was delayed 53 minutes by rain as a small front moved through Chicago.

NOTES: Cincinnati 2B Brandon Phillips missed his third consecutive game with a bone bruise on his right heel, but manager Bryan Price felt comfortable enough to get him out for pregame drills. ... Reds LHP Sean Marshall had season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder Tuesday morning. ... The Reds send RHP Mat Latos (0-0, 3.86 ERA) against Cubs RHP Edwin Jackson (5-7, 5.12 ERA) in Wednesday's series finale. ... Cubs manager Rick Renteria still hasn't revealed who will start in Saturday's scheduled day-night doubleheader against the Washington Nationals. ... INF/OF Emilio Bonifacio, sidelined due to an oblique strain, was spotted working out at Wrigley Field. "He continues to work on strengthening and get worked on daily," Renteria said.

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