CLEVELAND -- Jake Arrieta walked two batters in the first inning on Wednesday night, and after he got Jose Ramirez to fly out to deep center to end the threat, Cubs catcher Miguel Montero had a brief talk with rookie Willson Contreras, who was catching the right-hander.
"When Willson came into the dugout, I told him to make sure to sit in the middle [of the plate]," Montero said. "You don't need to work the edges with [Arrieta]. He's got plus stuff. I said, 'I want you to stay in the middle with him and go from there.' You want him to throw strikes, you want them to swing the bat."
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Contreras listened, Arrieta threw strikes and the Cubs now are even with the Indians in the best-of-seven World Series following a 5-1 victory in Game 2 at Progressive Field.
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Arrieta held the Tribe without a hit over 5 1/3 innings -- a fact some of his teammates didn't know until Jason Kipnis doubled for the first hit in the sixth -- and finished with six strikeouts. This was the longest no-hit bid in a World Series game since the Mets' Jerry Koosman threw six innings of no-hit ball against the Orioles in Game 2 of the 1969 Fall Classic.
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"I knew I hadn't given up a hit all the way to the sixth," Arrieta said. "That's really not the focus in a game like this. You really want to try to continue to pile up outs as often as you possibly can. Whether they get a hit or not really doesn't affect the way you continue to approach that lineup, especially with a five-run lead.
"I wanted to stay aggressive and continue to allow these guys to put the ball in play on quality pitches in the bottom of the strike zone, and that was the mindset throughout, regardless of whether I gave up a hit or not."
Arrieta admitted he was too amped up in the first inning, which resulted in one of the walks.
"After that inning, I was able to settle down and pitch well," he said.
Arrieta does know something about no-hitters. He's thrown two in his career, most recently this past April against the Reds. Arrieta may have been aware of the situation, but some of his teammates weren't.
"I didn't realize what was going on," third baseman Kris Bryant said. "It's a World Series game, and I don't know if many people are thinking about [a no-hitter]. He did what he needed to do. It was a much-needed game for him, and we told him that's what we needed and he provided for us."
Montero, who caught Arrieta's first no-hitter in August 2015 at Dodger Stadium, has been matched up with the right-hander in the postseason. But manager Joe Maddon wanted Contreras behind the plate in an attempt to stop the Indians' running game. Arrieta did walk three, but none attempted to steal.
Montero didn't want to interfere too much with Contreras.
"I don't want to go in and step in and have him start second-guessing," Montero said. "I said [to Contreras], 'Trust him, believe in him.' The last thing you want to do is second-guess what you're calling. If you believe it, go for it -- simple as that. That's the only thing I told him before the game. And stay in the middle. Jake's too good to be nibbling, nitpicking. It worked out pretty good. He did a great job with Jake, and Jake did a good job with Willson."