Published February 05, 2015
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Jake Arrieta got back on track by firing seven strong innings and leading the Chicago Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies that closed out a four-game series.
Arrieta (6-2) took a perfect game into the fifth inning and yielded just a run on three hits while striking out seven to halt a four-start winless stretch.
The right-hander was bolstered by a big sixth inning in which the Cubs scored three runs off Pedro Hernandez despite recording only two hits.
Chris Coghlan went 2-for-3 with a run scored in the win, Chicago's third of the set.
The NL Central cellar-dwelling Cubs made one notable move at Thursday's trade deadline during the game, shipping utilityman Emilio Bonifacio and lefty reliever James Russell to Atlanta for minor league catcher Victor Caratini.
Hernandez (0-1), promoted from Triple-A Colorado Springs for his first major league start of the season, permitted all three runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings.
Arrieta opened the contest by setting down 14 consecutive hitters -- including six by strikeout -- before Wilin Rosario broke up the perfect-game bid with a two-out single in the fifth inning.
"It's kind of one of those things where the more you go out there and continue to do it, it just seems like it's supposed to happen that way," said Arrieta of his early success. "It's a good feeling when you get into that groove and you're able to execute pitch after pitch."
Hernandez nearly matched his counterpart over the first five frames, however, scattering four singles and inducing a pair of double plays to keep the game scoreless entering the sixth.
He was reached for back-to-back singles by Arismendy Alcantara and Coghlan to start Chicago's half of the sixth, though, then walked Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro in succession to force in a run. A sacrifice fly by Justin Ruggiano plated Coghlan for a 2-0 lead, with Rizzo scoring on Luis Valbuena's grounder to short to extend the margin.
Colorado finally got to Arrieta in the seventh, as Nolan Arenado followed Corey Dickerson's leadoff single with a run-scoring double, then put forth a threat against Cubs closer Hector Rondon in the ninth.
Arenado and Morneau began the inning with base hits to put the tying run aboard, with Arenado advancing to third on Carlos Gonzalez's fielder's choice. Rondon got a key strikeout of Rosario, however, and fanned Charlie Culberson looking to notch his 14th save of the year.
"We just couldn't get the big hit to put together a big inning," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said afterward.
Arrieta had recorded a loss and three no-decisions over his previous four outings ... Hernandez went 3-3 with a 6.83 ERA in 14 games (12 starts) with Minnesota last season ... Gonzalez returned to the Rockies' lineup after sitting out Wednesday's matchup with knee and ankle soreness. He finished 0- for-4 ... Colorado has now lost 11 of its last 15 games.