Jake Arrieta's no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers came at the perfect time for the Chicago Cubs.
Kyle Hendricks would probably settle for a quality start.
Hendricks looks to end his struggles as the Cubs host the slumping Cincinnati Reds on Monday night.
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Arrieta delivered the Cubs' first no-hitter since Carlos Zambrano in 2008 in Sunday's 2-0 win. Striking out 12, he helped Chicago end a four-game losing streak that had trimmed three games off their lead for the second wild card over San Francisco.
''You see other guys around the league do it and you want to be a part of something like that,'' Arrieta said. ''So it's not only special for me and my family and friends, but for the organization and my teammates. They embraced me after the game, and it was extremely special to see how excited they were for what I was able to do.''
Now 5 1/2 up after the Giants lost Sunday, Chicago (74-55) hopes to get the back end of its rotation in order.
Hendricks (6-6, 4.11 ERA) has gone 2-2 with a 5.97 ERA in his last seven starts, a stretch that began with a 9-1 loss to Cincinnati on July 22 in which he gave up five runs in six innings. He faced the Reds on June 13 with better results, throwing five innings of one-run ball in a 4-3 win.
Hendricks made it through six innings for the first time in four starts in Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Giants, but he gave up four runs while walking three.
Early inning trouble has plagued the right-hander this year. Opponents are batting .278 against him in the first, compared to the league average of .249.
The Cubs scored twice in the top of that inning in San Francisco on Wednesday, but Hendricks gave up a leadoff home run to Nori Aoki and then walked the bases loaded with two outs before another run crossed on a fielder's choice.
"It was kind of a sloppy first that permitted them to get back in and that pretty much was the difference in the game," Cubs manager Joe Maddon told MLB's official website.
The last-place Reds (53-76) have posted the worst record in the majors in August at 7-21. Their 3.43 runs per game, .233 batting average and .364 slugging percentage all rank last in the NL this month.
The Reds have lost 14 of 16 and are 4-9 against the Cubs this season.
Cincinnati recalled right-hander Michael Lorenzen from Triple-A Louisville following Sunday's 4-1 loss to Milwaukee, and the right-hander will make his 18th start this season.
Lorenzen (3-8, 5.46) scuffled to an 0-6 record and 9.82 ERA in his last seven big-league starts, but he earned another shot in the Reds' rotation after going 2-1 with a 1.13 ERA in three minor-league outings.
''It's exciting and it's frustrating. We're having to go through a lot of the growing pains,'' manager Bryan Price said of his rotation that includes three rookies and two second-year pitchers. ''Some guys might be up here a little prematurely and that's out of necessity. The benefits and rewards will play out in `16 and `17, but maybe not as much as we had hoped in `15.''
The Reds placed outfielder Brennan Boesch on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right ankle Sunday. Price said the team wouldn't announce his replacement until Monday.