Cubs righty had won 20 straight decisions before series finale
By Cody Stavenhagen and Steve Gilbert
CHICAGO -- Yasmany Tomas hit a two-run double that served as the key blow against Jake Arrieta as Patrick Corbin and the D-backs beat the Cubs, 3-2, on Sunday at Wrigley Field, marking Arrieta's first loss since July 25, 2015.
"They had a pretty good approach," Arrieta said. "They made me show that I had the ability to throw strikes or get in the strike zone early, with the intent to get in some hitter-friendly counts. Pitch count got up. It was just a strange day overall. Everything they put in play seemed to be a base hit."
Arrieta struck out a season-high 12 D-backs hitters in five innings, but threw 108 pitches and surrendered nine hits, also a season high. Arizona went 9-for-10 on balls in play to get the run support needed to back Corbin's strong seven innings in a matchup with the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner.
"Everybody knows about his story there and it's always tough to go out there and face a guy like that," Corbin said of Arrieta. "The team got a couple of runs early, which helped and I was able to keep them off the board just enough. You know it's going to be a tough battle for our hitters. I still need to go out there and focus on what I'm doing, and that's something I was able to do today."
Arizona did most of its damage in the second, when Chris Herrmann and Chris Owings reached with seeing-eye singles before Tomas inside-outed an Arrieta sinker for the two-run double to the right-field gap. The D-backs tacked another run in the fifth, when Paul Goldschmidt singled to score Michael Bourn.
Corbin held the Cubs to five hits and did not walk a batter while striking out five in the win.
The loss ended a streak of 20 consecutive winning decisions for Arrieta, trailing only Carl Hubbell's 24 in 1936-37 and Roy Face's 22 in 1958-59 for the most in baseball history. The Cubs ended their 10-game homestand 8-2, losing back-to-back Arrieta starts for the first time since May of last season.
"I like the fact that were upset that we lost," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I love that. None of the guys accept that. But 8-2 homestand? I think we'll take that the rest of the summer."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Running it up: Though they swung and missed a lot, fanning 18 times in total, the D-backs also managed to run up Arrieta's pitch count. It started from the first batter of the game, when leadoff man Bourn had a 10-pitch at-bat. When all was said and done, Arrieta could not go past the fifth inning.
"The only good thing, I thought early, even with the strikeouts, we were making him throw a bunch of pitches," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "It wasn't just three pitches. Later on, he was really hitting that outside corner, bringing it back. It's one of those pitches you can't even reach. You kind of give up on it. He's one of the best one, two or three pitchers in either league."
Power pitcher: Arrieta did his best to help himself in the second inning. With the Cubs trailing, 2-0, Arrieta hit a high fly ball to deep center with Miguel Montero on first. D-backs center fielder Bourn jumped at the wall, but the ball fell out of his glove and onto the warning track. Arrieta ended up with an RBI double.
Work pays off: Corbin worked with pitching coach Mike Butcher on some mechanical adjustments with his slider during his between-starts bullpen session. After focusing on developing his changeup this spring, the D-backs felt Corbin used it too much in his last start at the expense of his sharp slider.
"Just tried to get back to my strengths, something I feel like we've gotten away from a little bit," Corbin said. "So just tried to attack the strike zone, work ahead and get some early outs and be aggressive and be able to use my slider and get some swings."
Maddon gets early shower:Maddon was ejected with two outs in the seventh for arguing a check-swing call. Cubs right-hander Trevor Cahill had a 3-2 count on Goldschmidt. Cahill threw a changeup in the dirt, and though Goldschmidt appeared to go around for strike three and Cubs players began heading for the dugout, umpires ruled Goldschmidt checked his swing, and he was awarded a walk. With his team trailing, 3-2, Maddon came out to argue with first-base umpire Tripp Gibson and also talked to home-plate umpire Gabe Morales. After Maddon was ejected, Justin Grimm replaced Cahill on the mound.
"I really thought he swung," Maddon said. "I don't think there was any question about it, even from behind him. My biggest question was, 'Now I have to use the bullpen.'"
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The 18 strikeouts tied a D-backs record for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game. Arizona also fanned 18 times against the Padres on April 25, 2007.
Arrieta is one of five pitchers since 1974 to strike out 11 batters in the first four innings of a game. The others are Alex Cobb, Zack Greinke, Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan. He is also the fifth pitcher since 1900 to strike out 12 or more batters in an outing of five innings or fewer.
HOW CAN I BE OF ASSISTANCE?
The nine assists by Jake Lamb tied a D-backs record for most assists in nine-inning game by a third baseman and was two shy of the Major League mark. Lamb, who has had some issues defensively in the first two games of the series, was solid with the glove Sunday. What Hale like most was that Lamb's 0-for-5 three strikeout day was not a factor.
"He had as good of a defensive game as you can have over there at third," Hale said. "That just shows you, guys aren't taking their at-bats out into the field. That was impressive."
WHAT'S NEXT D-backs: The D-backs return home Monday to open a three-game series with the Rays and a nine-game homestand. Left-hander Robbie Ray will get the start for the D-backs at 6:40 p.m. MST. It will be his first career start against the Rays.
Cubs: Jon Lester looks to follow up on his latest complete-game start against the Dodgers when he opens a three-game series Monday against the Phillies at 6:05 p.m. CT at Citizens Bank Park.