By Jon Weisman
Nine innings without a hit, then nine days, then nine more innings without a hit.
That’s the story for the Dodgers, who were no-hit tonight at Dodger Stadium by Jake Arrieta in a 2-0 victory by the Cubs.
Barely a week after Mike Fiers no-hit the Dodgers in Houston, Arrieta was magnificent, his 116 pitches darting in and out of the strike zone, striking out 12 and walking only Jimmy Rollins with two out in the sixth.
Kiké Hernandez reached base on a hard grounder to second baseman Starlin Castro that was ruled an error — on his postgame ESPN interview, Arrieta said he thought it was a hit. The other close calls came when Carl Crawford ended the seventh with a liner up the middle that Castro backhanded, and Hernandez hit a tough grounder to short that Addison Russell corralled for a 6-3 out. (Hernandez tweaked a hamstring running to first on the play, so that could be the most damaging aspect of this game.)
Justin Turner, Rollins and Chase Utley, the same trio that ended the game against Fiers (though in different order), made the final three outs tonight. Turner, in his first at-bat of the night, struck out. Rollins took a called strike three. And Utley, who made the final out in Josh Beckett’s no-hitter and has been involved in three no-hitters in the last nine Dodger games he has played in, struck out swinging.
The Dodgers had never been no-hit twice in the same year, and hadn’t been no-hit in consecutive years since Amos Rusie of the New York Giants and Jack Stivetts of the Boston Beaneaters did so in 1891 and 1892. Los Angeles set a National League record for fewest days between no-hitters, according to Mike Petriello. The MLB record occurred when the Chicago White Sox were no-hit on May 5-6, 1917.
There have been no-hitters at four Dodger games in the past two seasons. Most recent before that was the six-pitcher no-hitter by Seattle in 2012. That ended a 16-year drought of Dodger games without a no-hitter on either side, dating back to Hideo Nomo’s 1996 Coors Field no-hitter. Kent Mercker pitched the last no-hitter against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, in 1994.
Beyond the obvious, the frustration for the Dodgers was wasting what turned out to be some resilient pitching.
It didn’t start that way: Alex Wood was trailing by two runs after three batters, when Chris Denorfia walked with one out in the first and Kris Bryant homered. Wood struggled through the first three innings, throwing 72 pitches.
But he used only 32 pitches over his next three innings, retiring 10 of his last 11 batters. Relief pitchers Juan Nicasio and J.P. Howell generated inning-ending double plays in consecutive innings, as the Dodgers held the Cubs hitless with runners in scoring position tonight (and in the entire series, in fact).
Chicago had 13 hits, two walks and 12 left on base.