LOS ANGELES -- Seven times in his final 18 starts of 2014, Jake Arrieta took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, but it wasn't until Sunday night against the Dodgers that the Cubs right-hander finished the job. And it was deja vu for the Dodgers.
Arrieta threw his first career no-hitter to win his Major League-leading 17th game, and Kris Bryant hit a two-run homer to power the Cubs to a 2-0 victory over the Dodgers, snapping a four-game Chicago losing streak. Arrieta struck out 12 in his 14th consecutive quality start and finished the month of August with a perfect 6-0 mark.
"It's tough to put it into words," Arrieta said. "You think about it all the time, and as a kid, and you see other guys around the league do it and you want to be a part of that. It's not only special for me and my family and friends, but the organization and my teammates."
The only baserunners were Kiké Hernandez, who reached on Starlin Castro's error with one out in the third, and Jimmy Rollins, who walked with two outs in the sixth.
"I thought it was a hit," Arrieta said about Hernandez's at-bat. "It was a tough play, a short hop. I think it was a cutter away. I thought it could've gone either way. I wasn't aware it was an error until an inning or two later."
"He has that kind of stuff nightly -- it's really crazy," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Arrieta. "The ball looks like a Wiffle ball from the side. You can see the break on the slider and the cutter and the curveball. Right now, he's pitching on another level. And he deserves it."
Arrieta's no-no is the first by a Cubs pitcher since Carlos Zambrano did so Sept. 14, 2008, against the Astros in a game played at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
"It's something everybody wants," Arrieta said. "Every kid thinks about it. Little League, high school, college, Minor Leagues, you think about it. It's almost impossible not to. Everybody who plays this game wants to accomplish great things and pitch at a high level. It's something I've wanted for a long time. I've been close on a couple occasions. Everything aligned right tonight and I was able to get it done."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Glovework: Castro's fielding error in the third led to the Dodgers' first baserunner. Hernandez hit a ball that handcuffed Castro, and he couldn't get a grip on it to make a play.
"If I backhand it or something like that, maybe it could be a hit," Castro said. "It was right at me. I think that's an error." More >
But Castro did save a potential hit when he snared Carl Crawford's liner on the run to end the seventh. This was Castro's eighth start at second. A three-time All-Star at shortstop, he was moved in favor of rookie Addison Russell. Russell robbed Hernandez of a possible hit with a smooth pickup while running across the infield to end the eighth.
Power rookie: Bryant hit his fourth home run on the road and first away from Wrigley Field since June 17 when he connected in the first. Bryant leads all Major League rookies in RBIs (79), and is closing in on Billy Williams' franchise record for most homers by a rookie, 25 in 1961.
Third-base tryout: In his first test of his first start of the year at third base, Hernandez fielded Dexter Fowler's roller and his throw pulled first baseman Adrian Gonzalez off the bag, although it was scored as an infield single. Chris Denorfia followed with a two-out single, but Dodgers starter Alex Wood struck out Bryant.
Wood rights ship: Wood made 72 pitches through the first three innings and appeared headed toward a bullpen-taxing early exit, but allowed only one hit after that and made it through six innings with two runs allowed for a quality start.
"Alex kind of settled down," said manager Don Mattingly. "After 70-something pitches through three innings, it could have been a little bit of a disaster for us using too many relievers, but he got through it. That's what he does. He hung in there and kept pitching."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Arrieta is the first Cubs pitcher to post quality starts in 14 consecutive games since Greg Maddux did so in 1992, when Maddux won the first of his four Cy Young awards. Arrieta also joins the Red Sox's Joe Kelly as the only pitchers in baseball with six wins in August. And, Arrieta is the first Cubs pitcher to reach 17 wins since Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly both did so in 2008, which was the last time Chicago made the playoffs.
WHAT'S NEXT Cubs:Kyle Hendricks will try to get back on track Monday night at Wrigley Field when the Cubs open a three-game series against the Reds. Hendricks has a 3.55 ERA in 11 home starts compared to 4.56 ERA on the road. He lost his last outing, against the Giants, giving up four runs over six innings. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.
Dodgers: Kicking off the showdown series with the Giants in a 7:10 p.m. PT start is Brett Anderson, who pitched the Dodgers into the seventh inning in his most recent start, against the Reds, with all three runs charged against him unearned. Anderson is only 1-4 in his career against the Giants, but the win came for the Dodgers in June.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.