LOS ANGELES: Chicago hurler Jake Arrieta pitched the second no-hitter of his Major League Baseball career on Thursday (Friday in Manila) as the Cubs clobbered the Reds in Cincinnati 16-0.
“Regardless of how long it took or what I had to do to get there … I had visions of throwing no-hitters,” Arrieta said.
“It’s starting to happen for me and I don’t take any of it for granted.”
A significant contingent of Cubs fans among the crowd of 16,497 were on their feet by the time Arrieta walked Scott Schebler to start the ninth inning.
After pinch hitter Tucker Barnhart popped out to shortstop and Zack Cozart lined hard to center, Arrieta induced Eugenio Suarez to fly out to right fielder Jason Heyward for the final out.
Arrieta, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, threw a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium on August 30 last season.
“It feels different the second time,” Arrieta said. “I was a little more relaxed this time. I came out with some shaky command. But you have to have conviction in what you’re doing.”
The Cubs’ 16 runs were the most scored in a no-hitter in modern baseball history. The Buffalo Bisons’ Pud Galvin threw a no-hitter in an 18-0 win over the Detroit Wolverines in 1884.
It was the 15th no-hitter in Cubs history.
Arrieta allowed just five balls to be hit out of the infield Thursday. He struck out six, walked four and went two-for-four at the plate.
“As he came off the field, I told him … ‘Nice job of hitting,’” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
Arrieta finished with 119 pitches, something Maddon paid close attention to beginning in the sixth when the total reached 85. Even so, Maddon wasn’t about the pull the plug on his star pitcher.
“You never want to interfere with greatness,” Maddon said. “As a manager, you try to stay out of the way of those moments.”
Thursday’s result was never in doubt, as Kris Bryant hit two of five Cubs home runs, including a grand slam. Bryant went four-for-six and tied a career high with six RBIs.
Arrieta was uncharacteristically wild.
“He was off for the first four or five innings,” said 39-year-old Chicago catcher David Ross, who caught a no-hitter for the first time in his career.
“He started to lock it back in in the fifth and sixth. Then there at the end, when he’s got that fastball command down and away, he’s pretty tough to hit. He’s not shocked when he does stuff like this.”
Chicago entered Thursday’s game hitting just .236 as a team, but it pounded Cincinnati pitching throughout, finishing with 18 hits.
It also was a special night for Ross, who went two-for-three with a homer and a walk while picking a runner off first base for an out.
“[Arrieta] overshadowed all my offense, kind of mad at him,” Ross joked.