Some news stories get repeated, even when they’re unexpected and inexplicable.
Like the Dodgers -- the $300-million, division-leading Dodgers – getting no-hit for the second time in nine days.
But it really happened again, this time the Dodgers being set down without a hit by Jake Arrieta in the Cubs’ 2-0 victory Sunday night at Dodger Stadium.
It was only Aug. 21 that the Astros’ Mike Fiers no-hit the Dodgers. Arrieta, at least, is one of baseball’s hottest pitchers.
Arrieta (17-6) made it look fairly easy Sunday, striking out 12 and handcuffing the Dodgers all night with an overpowering fastball and sharp breaking off-speed stuff.
It was the 12th no-hitter ever thrown at Dodger Stadium, and the 13th in Cubs history, and for the Dodgers, not exactly the momentum they were hoping to carry into their three-game series against the Giants.
The game’s only runs happened so quickly, there was no way to suspect they would be the difference.
With one out in the first, Alex Wood walked Chris Denorfia and Kris Bryant crushed a two-run homer. Just like that, it was 2-0 on Bryant’s 21st home run.
Given that the Dodgers were on a five-game winning streak, it’s not like it screamed “game over” -- even if Arrieta was on the mound of the Cubs.
But a 2-0 lead it remained, Wood did just enough to avoid more trouble. He went six innings, allowing the two runs on eight hits and a walk, striking out seven.
As the innings went by, more eyes went to Arrieta, who has been one of baseball’s hottest pitchers for over two months now. Back on June 16, he was having a nice enough season, going 6-5 with a 3.40 ERA. In his next 14 starts, he’s gone 11-1 with a 1.07 ERA.
That still didn’t exactly set the stage for Sunday. Maybe Arrieta relished showing off his new form on national television. Maybe he’s just become that good. And possibly, the Dodgers are the most mystifying team in baseball history.
The Dodgers only came close to a hit twice; both times Arrieta was saved by second baseman Starlin Castro.
In the first inning, Chase Utley hit a hard bouncer that looked like it might get through the hole between first and second. But Castro sprinted toward the grass, made a quick backhanded stop and threw out Utley.
Castro also made an error, bobbling an Enrique Hernandez ball that initially took away Arrieta’s perfect game opportunity in the third inning. Arrieta later walked Jimmy Rollins in the sixth, the only walk he would allow.
Then in the seventh inning, Carl Crawford lined a ball that appeared headed for center field. This time Castro made a leaping, one-handed stab to catch the liner.
The Dodgers went quietly after that. In the ninth inning, Arrieta struck out the side, getting Utley swinging to end the game. The no-hitter took him just 116 pitches.
Only one team in baseball history was no-hit twice in one season and went on to win the World Series, the 1917 White Sox.
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