Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta gave up an earned run in the fifth inning of his start against the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday, which ended his scoreless streak inside the friendly confines of Wrigley Field at 52.2 innings.
Milwaukee ended the streak with what started as a routine inning. Yadiel Rivera struck out, and Hernan Perez grounded out to begin the fifth after four scoreless frames from Arrieta. But then Jonathan Villar singled, stole second and scored on a double by Alex Presley.
It marked the first of two extended streaks to end Thursday. Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald highlighted the other after someone pinch hit for the right-hander in the bottom of the fifth:
Bruce Miles @BruceMiles2112
No quality start for Arrieta, who had a streak of 24, dating to June 21 of last year. #Cubs2016-4-28 20:28:01
A starter must go at least six innings to register a quality start. So even though Arrieta gave up just the single earned run over five frames, the streak ends.
He exited the contest with the Cubbies holding a 6-1 lead after the fifth. It wasn't the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner's most efficient outing, however, as he had four walks for the second straight start. He issued just two free passes in his first three outings combined.
Of course, the four walks in his last start got overshadowed by the no-hitter he twirled against the Cincinnati Reds last Thursday. In the aftermath of that memorable performance, he sounded off to Bob Nightengale of USA Today about opponents thinking he's using performance-enhancing drugs:
I've heard players, and I'm talking about some of the best players in the league, question whether I've taken steroids or not. Some of the things I hear are pretty funny, and some people are idiots, frankly.
I'll see on Twitter, 'My close source revealed to me he's on steroids.' Well, the 10 tests I take a year say otherwise. I eat plants. I eat lean meat. I work out. And I do things the right way.
If there are guys still on it, I hope they get caught. I care about the integrity of the game. I wouldn't want to disappoint my family, my friends, my fans. That's a huge motivating factor in doing it the right way.
Clearly that type of talk strikes a chord for Arrieta and rightfully so. It's not a surprise when players who struggled early in their careers before enjoying high-end success hear those type of whispers, so full credit to him for taking a stand against it.
He's been nothing short of outstanding since the start of the 2014 campaign. The fact the Brewers were able to get a measly one run off him in five innings and broke two streaks in the process illustrates that. He'll look to start new streaks when he returns to the mound next week against the Pittsburgh Pirates.