CHICAGO (AP) — Jake Arrieta took the ball for the Chicago Cubs and picked up right where he left off. He threw his fastball where he wanted it to go. His breaking stuff had good late movement.
The Cincinnati Reds finally had to put him on base to get him out of the game.
Arrieta retired his first 18 batters and struck out nine in seven impressive innings, leading Chicago to a 7-3 victory over Cincinnati on Tuesday night.
"He was commanding his pitches," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "His pitches had life."
Arrieta (4-1) struck out eight during his perfect start, including the side in the sixth. He had a leadoff walk in the bottom half and came around to score when Homer Bailey (7-4) hit Starlin Castro with the bases loaded.
That little trip around the bases proved costly. Rookie Billy Hamilton started the seventh with a single up the middle for Cincinnati's first baserunner.
"I was pretty gassed there, unfortunately," Arrieta said. "Pretty humid night. Long inning there in the sixth. Running the bases, which really isn't all that tough in itself, but you couple that with being on the mound and having that long layoff, it adds a little bit to it."
Arrieta allowed two runs and three hits while improving to 3-0 with a 1.14 ERA in five June starts. It was his first win of the season at Wrigley Field, where he has yielded three runs in 23 innings over four starts.
"Really it's just kind of going through the process that I feel like gives me the best chance to have success," he said, "and going through it day by day and sticking with it."
Anthony Rizzo belted a solo homer for the second straight night for the Cubs, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Welington Castillo drove in two runs, including a sacrifice fly in Chicago's three-run eighth.
Devin Mesoraco homered for the fifth straight game for Cincinnati, matching a franchise record. Mesoraco's 14th homer came with one out in the ninth against Neil Ramirez.
"It was late in the game. All the other homers were to help the team win, and important, big homers," he said. "They actually meant a lot. That one didn't really help us come back, so it doesn't mean as much."
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