Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jake Arrieta flirted with a perfect game in his last outing and followed that up by coming four outs away from his first career no-hitter on Monday.
Arrieta (5-1) threw a career-high 120 pitches and allowed just one hit and a walk with 10 strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 2-0 win over the Boston Red Sox in the opener of a three-game set.
"It's special to do it in this ballpark," Arrieta said. "We won so that's the biggest thing for tonight."
Arrieta set down the first 13 batters he faced before Mike Napoli worked a walk in the fifth. Xander Bogaerts proceeded to line out to left and Stephen Drew struck out swinging to end the inning. Arrieta kept the no-hitter alive, however, as the right-hander tossed 80 pitches through five innings.
"The tension builds there as the fifth and sixth innings approach," Arrieta noted.
He then threw an efficient 10 pitches in the sixth and 13 in the seventh to keep the Red Sox hitless, but Boston would break through in the eighth.
Napoli was called out on strikes to begin the inning and Bogaerts flied out to center before Drew yanked a single into right for Boston's first hit.
Arrieta was immediately taken out and Pedro Strop induced a harmless pop-up from Mookie Betts to end the inning.
Pinch-hitter A.J. Pierzynski led off the ninth with a single to right off closer Hector Rondon, but Brock Holt grounded into a 3-6-3 double play. Daniel Nava then ground out softly to second base to end the game as Rondon picked up his 10th save of the season.
"We just ran into a guy that was on his game," Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said of Arrieta. "He looked really good."
Arrieta was vying to become the 11th Cubs pitcher to throw a no-hitter, the first since Carlos Zambrano achieved the feat against the Houston Astros on Sept. 14, 2008 in a game played at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
Boston, which was one out away from being no-hit by Texas' Yu Darvish on May 9 before David Ortiz broke it up with a single, hasn't been no-hit since Seattle's Chris Bosio, the current Cubs pitching coach, twirled a gem back on April 22, 1993.
One would have to delve deep into the history books to find the last time Boston was no-hit at Fenway Park. Detroit's Jim Bunning pitched his first career no-no in a 3-0 win over the host Red Sox on July 20, 1958.
"(Arrieta) stayed out of the middle of the plate," Boston manager John Farrell said. "He was outstanding. Obviously giving the fact that we broke up a no- hitter in the eighth inning, you give credit to a talented guy who was on tonight."
Red Sox starter Jake Peavy (1-7) took the tough-luck loss after giving up two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts in six innings.
The game was scoreless until the fourth when Nate Schierholtz provided the only offense that was needed with his fourth homer of the season.
"First pitch to Schierholtz, (he) pulled it and that was the game," Peavy said. "It's frustrating losing."
Peavy struck out Starlin Castro and Luis Valbuena before walking Welington Castillo in front of Schierholtz, who turned on the first pitch he saw, depositing it into the bullpen in right.