LOS ANGELES -- Tuesday night was not Jake Arrieta's last game of 2016. Not if he can help it.
Arrieta took the loss as the Dodgers shut down the Cubs for the second straight game in a 6-0 win at Dodger Stadium -- giving Los Angeles a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series.
Prior to Tuesday, the last time Arrieta had pitched at Dodger Stadium was on Aug. 30, 2015, when he threw his first career no-hitter. The Dodgers eliminated any chance of another when Corey Seager singled with one out in the first. Arrieta served up six hits over five-plus innings, including home runs by Yasmani Grandal and Justin Turner. In the regular season, Arrieta had given up two homers in a game four times in his 31 starts.
Grandal's homer was the one that bothered both Arrieta and catcher Miguel Montero the most. The Dodgers had one on and two out in the fourth, and Arrieta threw a sinker on a 2-2 count that was called a ball. Folks watching in Wrigleyville 2,000 miles away most likely disagreed with the call.
"It could've gone either way," Arrieta said. "[Grandal] did a nice job of getting to the next pitch and putting a good swing on the next one."
Grandal said his approach was to "stay alive."
"We had a man on second, so any contact, anything, you never know what can happen," Grandal said. "[I wanted to] stay alive until you get a pitch that he gives you to hit. I mean, he's been so good for the last couple years just because he doesn't give in. So I fouled off a couple pitches. He still made a really good pitch down in the zone. I was just lucky to put a swing on it and hit it out."
Grandal fouled off the next pitch on 3-2, and then launched a four-seam fastball to right. He entered the game 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against Arrieta.
"Solo homers don't really hurt you," Montero said. "That one to Grandal was a little painful. As a catcher, as a pitcher, when we're not swinging the bats well, it puts extra pressure on us. We have to be perfect. A one-run deficit, that can be the game."
Grandal's homer opened a 3-0 lead, and provided more than enough offense for Dodgers starter Rich Hill. Grandal did hit 27 homers this season, but he batted .228 overall.
"I did not see that home run coming right there," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
"He was looking for a fastball there in a 3-2 count," Arrieta said. "I wanted to challenge him. I felt I executed pretty well. Sometimes those guys capitalize and beat you in those situations. It wasn't ideal from my perspective. I probably make that pitch nine out of 10 times and I'm with it."
Did the Dodgers do anything that surprised Arrieta?
"They fouled off a lot of great pitches in two-strike counts to get to the next pitch and hit some really good pitches," Arrieta said. "Seager had some nice at-bats. In these sort of games, against a guy like Seager, you'll take a single to left field nine out of 10 times. He was able to put a good swing on a cutter in close to his body to right field to score the first run [in the third]. Sometimes good hitters hit good pitches, and unfortunately, that happened a few times tonight."
Which leaves the Cubs in a tough spot in the NLCS.
"Not at all," Arrieta said. "We have to win three before they win two."
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.