By Bruce Levine--
CHICAGO (CBS) -- Even the most dominant pitcher of late in a Cubs uniform showed he can have a poor inning once in awhile. Such was the case for right-hander Jake Arrieta on Tuesday evening. Having set a standard that seemed unrealistic to maintain, Arrieta allowed three runs in the fourth inning, taking his first loss of the season as Chicago fell 3-2 to Cincinnati at Wrigley Field.
Given the long season, the Cubs' loss wasn't a surprise, but it was unusual for Arrieta, who entering the night was 10-2 with a 1.97 ERA at Wrigley Field in his career.
"Just one inning, some ground balls got through on him," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Overall, he pitched really well. He settled himself down after that and did a really nice job."
Arrieta did keep his streak of games allowing three runs or fewer at home intact, as he allowed a trio of runs in 6 2/3 innings on seven hits while walking one and striking out five. Arrieta has now gone 15 consecutive starts at Wrigley Field without giving up more than three earned runs.
"I don't know if there is anything that separates Wrigley from playing on the road," Arrieta said. "Obviously, playing in front of our home fans is an advantage. There is certainly a comfort pitching in front of the home crowd, which I enjoy. It's just a great place to pitch."
The Reds' three-run outburst against Arrieta in that lone inning are the only runs he has given up in two starts. Arrieta threw seven shutout innings in his season debut against the Cardinals.
Arrieta retired the fist nine men he faced Tuesday, striking out three batters. Although he said he briefly thought about a no-hitter -- which he flirted with late last season against the Reds -- that was quickly erased from his mind with the three-run five-hit Reds fourth inning.
"Even the base hits he gave up were mostly on good pitches," Cubs catcher Miguel Montero said. "Other than the hits by (Joey) Votto and (Brandon) Phillips, he threw the ball well. The other balls just got through the holes. To be honest with you, I have caught some really outstanding pitchers, including Dan Haren when he had four dominant pitches. I think Jake has more electric stuff than anybody I ever caught."
Arrieta had his streak of not allowing an earned run going back to Sept. 16, of 2014, snapped at 26 innings. Arrieta did retain his quality start streak at home, which was extended to 12 straight.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.
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