Arrieta outduels D-backs' Ray in Cubs win
CHICAGO -- Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Robbie Ray had a good start on Saturday, striking out eight in five innings and giving up just two runs on four hits. But he ran into the hottest pitcher in baseball in Jake Arrieta, who was even better.
Arrieta (18-6) pitched eight innings of four-hit ball for his major league-best 18th win to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 2-0 win over Arizona.
Ray (3-11) dropped to 0-7 with a 5.23 ERA in 10 starts since his last victory on July 7.
The left-hander can't catch a break. His eight strikeouts matched a career high for the second straight start.
But, Arrieta, in his first start since throwing a no-hitter against the Dodgers on Sunday, was even better.
"Probably the most dominant guy we've faced all year," Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said. "He's obviously on a good run."
On Aug. 31, Ray also had a good start, giving up one run on five hits but didn't factor in the decision in Arizona's 5-4 loss to Colorado. Before that, he'd lost five straight.
"I felt good," Ray said about Saturday's performance. "I was able to keep my team in the ballgame and give us a chance to win and that's what we need right now. We're scratching and clawing and trying to get those wins. I felt like I did a good job and gave us a chance."
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Arrieta, though, has to be considered one of the best pitchers in the game this year.
"It's as good as you're going to get on a major league level," Maddon said. "I thought in the beginning he wasn't as sharp. He kind of hit his stride in the third or fourth inning when everything started to click, but then he got really, really good after that."
It was the seventh consecutive victory for the right-hander, who has allowed just two earned runs in 50 1/3 innings during his win streak.
Arrieta allowed two hits in the first, but struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia to end the inning. Hector Rondon yielded two hits in the ninth before finishing for his 26th save in 30 chances.
Paul Goldschmidt had two hits in his return to the lineup after missing two games to be with his wife, Amy, in Phoenix as she gave birth to their first child, Jake.
David Ross drove in a run with a bases-loaded groundout in the fourth, and Dexter Fowler drove Ray's first pitch of the fifth over the wall in left for his 16th homer. His previous career best was 13 with Colorado in 2012.
Arrieta's no-hitter included a season-high 12 strikeouts and was the sixth in the majors this year. In a breakout season last year, he became the first Cubs pitcher since 1950 to pitch no-hit ball into the seventh inning three times in one season.
He retired 16 in a row in one stretch, with Saltalamacchia breaking up the string with a two-out double in the seventh.
The Cubs loaded the bases with none out in the fourth, but managed only one run on Ross' chopper up the middle. Ray then struck out Arrieta and Addison Russell.
The bat flew out of Russell's hands while he was at the plate and went into the stands, but an alert fan caught the lumber and no one appeared to be injured.
Diamondbacks: Goldschmidt, who leads Arizona with a .322 batting average, 27 homers and 97 RBIs, said his wife and son were doing well. "Had the baby on Wednesday afternoon, baby boy Jake, he's doing great, Amy's doing great," he said. ... Manager Chip Hale had hoped 2B Aaron Hill would be back in the starting lineup after leaving Tuesday's game with a hamstring pull, but Brandon Drury started at second with Hill available off the bench.
Cubs: Manager Joe Maddon said that rookie OF/C Kyle Schwarber, out with a mild rib cage strain, probably will not be available for the Cubs' three-game series in St. Louis that opens on Monday. Schwarber said Friday he hoped to play against the Cardinals. ... INF Starlin Castro, who lost his job as the everyday shortstop in early August, started at second base.
Arizona RHP Rubby De La Rosa (12-6, 4.46 ERA) faces Chicago RHP Kyle Hendricks (6-6. 4.15 ERA) in the series finale on Sunday. De La Rosa has won six of his last seven decisions. Hendricks, who makes his first career start versus the Diamondbacks, has a loss and three no-decisions in his last four starts and hasn't won since Aug. 8.