CHICAGO — Cubs catcher Miguel Montero called Jake Arrieta a freak. Chicago manager Joe Maddon said Arrieta is in such good shape he could record fitness videos, like Jane Fonda used to.
Arrieta also can pitch.
Arrieta allowed three hits over seven innings and Starlin Castro had a go-ahead RBI single in a two-run seventh, leading the Chicago Cubs over the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 for their first win this season.
Backed by just two hits from Chicago’s offense, Arrieta (1-0) struck out seven and walked three. He was 10-5 with a 2.53 ERA in a breakout 2014 and improved to 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA in six career starts against St. Louis.
“He deserves everything that he’s gotten,” said Maddon, who got his first win as Chicago manager after leaving Tampa Bay.
Phil Coke, Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon combined for hitless relief. Rondon pitched a perfect ninth for his first save of the season for the Cubs, who lost 3-0 to St. Louis on Sunday night’s opener.
Arrieta said he was suffering from jitters and too much adrenaline ahead of his first start of the year at home, especially ahead of a game against rival St. Louis.
“Those things are expected,” Arrieta said.
Lance Lynn (0-1) struck out nine in six-plus innings but Castro’s single chased him in the seventh. Montero hit a sacrifice fly off Kevin Siegrist.
Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch leading off the seventh and advanced when Lynn’s pickoff throw was wide of Matt Adams at first for an error. Castro then singled, ending the Cubs’ 15-inning scoreless streak at the start of the season, and took second on the throw.
“When it’s all said and done, it’s a loss,” Lynn said. “So I’ve got to pitch better.”
Lynn allowed both runs — one earned — and two hits
“He had good movement, worked both sides of the plate and did what we teach our guys to do — mix it up, and there’s nothing you can necessarily sit on,” Matheny said.