Arrieta cruises in second career shutout

Cubs righty found 'good tempo and timing,' avoided stressful innings

Arrieta cruises in second career shutout

MINNEAPOLIS -- Joe Maddon was monitoring Jake Arrieta's pitch count closely Sunday, but he also knows just how well conditioned the right-hander is. The Cubs manager has tried to do Arrieta's Pilates workout and had trouble keeping up.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for #ASGWorthy players

What also helped keep Arrieta in the game was that he did not have any stressful innings in the Cubs' 8-0 victory over the Twins.

"All the indicators and factors were pointed in the right direction, so let him finish," Maddon said.

That's what Arrieta did, notching his second career shutout. The right-hander scattered four hits, did not walk a batter and struck out seven. It was the 33rd quality start by a Cubs pitcher this season, and the team now is 27-6 in those games.

"I got better as the game went on, and a little more comfortable and found a really good tempo and timing with my delivery," Arrieta said. "I was pretty crisp with everything."

The Twins noticed.

"He got stronger," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It was a combination of him throwing 95-97 [mph] with a good cutter and changeup and a lot of first-pitch curveballs. We got tentative as the game went on, but he pitched really well."

As far as Arrieta was concerned, the only mistake was one he made in fielding Byron Buxton's grounder in the third. The pitcher couldn't get his glove on the ball, and Buxton was safe on the error. And Arrieta was ticked.

"In hindsight, I should've come in on that ball and fielded it before it took the hop," Arrieta said. "I was frustrated about that. After that point, I have to pick myself up, and I was able to do that."

Arrieta did field the ball cleanly on back-to-back plays in the sixth. He also retired 12 in a row, striking out the side in the fifth. His other shutout came last Sept. 16 against the Reds.

"What [Arrieta] did today would shut anybody down," Twins outfielder Torii Hunter said. "He was locked in. He had poise. He wasn't even laboring in the ninth. I was looking for him to take a deep breath, or take his hat off and wipe his head, but no."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.