By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta proved he was human after all, losing to the Diamondbacks on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field.READ MORE: 8-Year-Old Boy Shot, Killed While Playing On Front Porch In Markham
It was Arrieta’s first regular-season loss in 24 starts. Arrieta came into the contest against Arizona a perfect 9-0 in 2016, having not lost since last July 25, when Chicago was no-hit by Philadelphia left-hander Cole Hamels. He was 20-0 during that stretch with four no-decisions.
In Arizona’s 3-2 win Sunday, Arrieta’s stuff was contradictory by looking at the end results. He struck out a season-high 12 Diamondbacks in his five innings on the mound, during which he allowed three earned runs. Arrieta left the game trailing 3-1 after throwing 108 pitches. The irony was that Arizona only put 12 balls in play during Arrieta’s outing, yet nine of those ended up as base hits.
Arizona lead-off man Michael Bourn saw double-digit pitches to start the game.
“I made some good pitches to them,” Arrieta said after the loss and of Bourn’s at-bat. “It was a good, long at-bat. They had a pretty good approach. They made me show I had the ability to throw strikes. They forced me to to get into some pretty hitter friendly counts. The pitch count got up. It was just a strange day overall. Just a weird day.”
Still, the Cubs (39-16) had little to complain about, finishing 8-2 on their homestand.
“Our last 11 games, we are 9-2,” Arrieta said. “You know, to lose a one-run game, with a chance to sweep, it’s tough. We are still playing really well. We have a stretch ahead of us on the road. We have the ability to put quite a few more wins together. We than can come back home and have some fun again at Wrigley.”READ MORE: Death Investigation Underway After Man Found Unresponsive On CTA Red Line Platform In Old Town
Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin was tough on the Cubs hitters, giving up two runs in seven innings. The damage came on an Arrieta RBI double in the second inning and a Javier Baez solo home run in the sixth.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was ejected in the seventh inning after questioning a check-swing ball four to Paul Goldschmidt. For Maddon, it was his first ejection of 2016. He had already watched Arrieta have a star-crossed afternoon of work.
“That is just the nature of this game,” Maddon said. “Sometimes hard contact is not rewarded and soft contact is. It works both ways. This is not just happening against us. It just happened to be that way today.”
Cubs catcher Miguel Montero tried to sum up the incredible run that had seen him go more than 10 months without a regular-season loss.
“It was just amazing,” Montero said. “It is hard to describe what he has done. It was a heck of a run. Hopefully he will start a new one next time out.”
Chicago starts a nine-game road trip in Philadelphia on Monday evening. The Cubs play 20 of their next 26 away from Wrigley Field. As they hit the road, the Cubs retained their 9.5-game lead on the Pirates, who lost 5-4 to the Angels on Sunday.MORE NEWS: Transgender Attorneys Says Judges And Clerks Have Harassed Her; Fights For Change
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.