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Arrieta displays vintage form in tough loss

Maddon impressed with starter's confidence despite bullpen meltdown in eighth
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Joe Maddon was pleased with the production.

Hours before Jake Arrieta's solid six-inning start and even longer before a humbling eighth inning that led to an 11-4 loss on Friday, the Cubs' manager spoke to the media about how he felt the All-Star break had "revitalized" the starters.

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CHICAGO -- Joe Maddon was pleased with the production.

Hours before Jake Arrieta's solid six-inning start and even longer before a humbling eighth inning that led to an 11-4 loss on Friday, the Cubs' manager spoke to the media about how he felt the All-Star break had "revitalized" the starters.

View Full Game Coverage

"They needed to rest," Maddon said. "It all worked out really well."

Arrieta seemed to continue that trend, allowing only two runs in six innings on Friday. If anything, he might have pitched better than his line.

After getting the first two outs of the third inning, the Cubs had the chance to finish off the frame. Tommy Pham took an aggressive turn around first and tried to stretch a single into a double, which he was ultimately able to do because Kyle Schwarber's throw to second pulled Ben Zobrist off the bag.

Video: STL@CHC: Pham hits a double, avoids the tag at second

After Pham scored one at-bat later, Arrieta settled back in, retiring eight batters in a row and only allowing one single from the fourth inning on. But then the eighth inning happened -- the six-hit, six-walk, 14-batter eighth inning.

"That was the turning point in the game," Arrieta said. "You won't see that rarely ever ... if ever again from those two guys."

Video: STL@CHC: Arrieta on the Cubs, staying focused

First came Carl Edwards Jr., who gave up a leadoff double -- his first allowed this season -- and two walks before exiting. The sequence kept going.

Hector Rondon came in and allowed a walk, double, walk and single before he was pulled. Then it was Justin Grimm's turn. He allowed a double, walk and back-to-back singles before finally recording the first out of the frame.

Video: STL@CHC: Cardinals score nine runs in the 8th inning

"Some really good pitchers had a tough time," Maddon said. "[Edwards] had been outstanding. Rondon, I put him in a tough spot. ... We played well and lost, because we gave up nine runs in an inning."

Ultimately, it was in that eighth inning where the game flipped. The first 11 Cardinals batters reached safely while the first nine scored for the first time in a game since August 2014. Within that frame, there were a couple of balls that could've been stopped or kept in the infield, but the way it was going, everything that could've gone wrong did.

Video: STL@CHC: Maddon talks bullpen's meltdown in loss

For that, the mood after the game wasn't what it'd be after a win, but there was a clear sense of wanting to move forward.

"That was a weird, weird inning. First time I've seen something like that," Rondon said. "Right now, OK, I'm [miffed], whatever. But tomorrow, I'll come in with a different mentality and try to win the game. That's it."

Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

Chicago Cubs, Jake Arrieta