Near no-no before Fenway fans gave Jake Arrieta ‘goosebumps’
|06.30.14 at 11:48 pm ET|
Jake Arrieta hasn’t always had great memories of pitching in Fenway but he’s always loved the fans and the environment. On Monday, he nearly made Fenway Park history.
Before giving up a clean single to right field to Stephen Drew on a misplaced 2-2 fastball, Arrieta was a mere four outs away from becoming just the fourth opposing pitcher to no-hit the Red Sox at Fenway since it opened in 1912 and the first since Detroit’s Jim Bunning in 1958.
“The tension kind of builds there as the fifth and sixth innings kind of approach and then it kind of subsides a little bit,” said Arrieta, who brought a perfect game into the seventh last week against the Reds at Wrigley Field. “The space around me [in the dugout] kind of increases, naturally. But yeah, another special night. It’s special to do it in this ballpark, to do something like this last week in Wrigley and then to do it here, in these two parks is pretty special.”
Arrieta finished with a career-high 120 pitches over 7 2/3 innings, picking up the win in a Cubs’ 2-0 blanking of the Red Sox Monday night.
“Most parks will have it somewhere on the board or on the Jumbotron so you sort of know,” Arrieta said. “During each inning, I might glance I have this many more to work with, and I knew the leash was going to be lengthened a little bit because of the situation. It felt like just any other day really as far as the body goes. I didn’t have to hit so I had a little more in the tank.
“We won and that’s obviously the biggest thing from tonight. We can all kind of enjoy. It was fun, a lot of fun.”
Arrieta was given a rousing standing ovation as he came off the mound immediately after losing his no-hitter in the eighth. There was still a game to be won. But that didn’t keep the fans from appreciating the effort of the right-hander.
“Something like that in Fenway is pretty rare for an opposing team so yeah, I got some goosebumps there and that’s kind of why you play this game, for moments like that. I’m just very thankful to be a part of something like that and to get another win feels good.”
Arrieta’s manager, Rick Renteria, was even more effusive about the Fenway fans.
“That was some kind of awesome. I tip my cap to everybody because that was some show of respect. That was awesome.”
As for the fateful seventh pitch to Drew in the eighth, Arrieta said the pitch was good but the location wasn’t.
“It was supposed to down and away heater,” Arrieta said. “I got a little lazy and pulled it and left it pretty much middle-middle [in the strike zone] and he put a good swing on it, so he definitely deserved it.”
Was Arrieta aware as the game entered the last three innings?
“Yeah, I was aware,” he said. “Stuff was still good and was strong throughout, and that was the most important thing. Same stuff just everything was down and when you’re able to be down [in the strike zone] with multiple pitches, they can’t guess on anything and they have to be aware of multiple pitches in any given count. I did a good job of that.”
Arrieta was making his first start at Fenway since April 10, 2013 with the Orioles, when he lasted just five innings, allowing three hits and three runs before leaving the game after just 69 pitches. Lifetime, Arrieta was 0-1 with a 7.15 ERA in two previous starts and three overall appearances before Monday’s gem.
“My last start here wasn’t very good so it was nice to kind of get that out of my memory and just move forward,” Arrieta said. “Coming here is always special to me because I love Boston, the city is great, the park is amazing and the fans are great. Even as an opposing player, I can still appreciate that, the interaction that the fans have from start to finish in every game. It’s just fun to be a part of.”
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