(Reuters) - Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta threw his first career no-hitter, finishing off the milestone in grand style by striking out the Los Angeles Dodgers in order in the ninth inning for a 2-0 win on Sunday.
The right-hander also became the first 17-game winner in Major League Baseball this season by striking out Dodgers Justin Turner, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley in a rousing finale.
Arrieta (17-6) had 14 strikeouts and only two runners reached base as the Cubs improved to 74-55.
Cubs second baseman Starlin Castro was charged with an error on a hit from Los Angeles third baseman Enrique Hernandez in the third inning and Rollins drew a two-out walk in the sixth.
“I thought it was a hit, I really did,” said Arrieta, who was doused by team mates with two buckets of ice water afterwards.
“It was a tough play. Hernandez hit it well. It was a tough short-hop for Castro. But you know they scored it an error. Thankfully so and I was able to finish it off.”
Utley took Arrieta to the edge of warning track in leftfield, also in the sixth inning. Castro made a nice catch on a line drive off the bat of Dodgers left-fielder Carl Crawford in the seventh inning.
“I threw the ball well, but those guys played well behind me, too,” Arrieta said.
“It went by so quick. It feels like that could have been just five innings the way it kind of played out. My stuff was good as well as my command of the ball.”
The near-perfect 116-pitch performance, in which Arrieta faced 29 batters — two more than the minimum — was the second time in nine days the Dodgers (72-57) had been victims of a no-hitter.
Mike Fiers of the Houston Astros turned the trick at home for a 3-0 win over the Dodgers on Aug. 21.
The last Cubs no-hitter was on Sept. 15, 2008 when Carlos Zambrano beat the Astros 5-0. That game had to be moved from Texas to Milwaukee because of Hurricane Ike.
Writing by Tim Wharnsby; Editing by John O'Brien