On a day where aces changed uniforms and teams paid a hefty price for frontline pitching, Jake Arrieta continued to show why he is a big part of the Cubs' future.
The Cubs made their 28-year-old starter off-limits during Thursday's Major League Baseball trade deadline and Arrieta delivered a gem as the Cubs beat the Rockies 3-1 in front of 35,729 fans at Wrigley.
Arrieta allowed just one run on the afternoon on three hits and two walks, striking out seven and improving to 6-2 on the season. His ERA currently sits at 2.11 and his WHIP is a sparkling 0.99 in 2014 while posting 10 straight quality starts for a rotation that desperately needed a boost after trading away Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel on July 4.
The Cubs acquired Arrieta and reliever Pedro Strop from the Orioles in an early-July trade last season for veteran Scott Feldman. Arrieta never lived up to his top-prospect status in Baltimore, but has shown his potential in Chicago, going 10-4 with a 2.65 ERA in 25 starts with the Cubs.
"He's been outstanding for us," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "Obviously, when you make a deal like that last year, you see how a guy's stuff and you know he has potential. You don't know how long it's going to take - if ever - to come out, so with the case of Jake, it's been fun to watch.
"He looks like an incredibly confident pitcher out there and I'd be confident if I had that stuff as well. I know we're excited about it and hopefully he'll keep rolling."
Arrieta had a perfect game going through two outs in the fifth until Colorado catcher Wilin Rosario lined a single to center that Junior Lake couldn't hold onto during a diving attempt.
Arrieta actually said he felt off in the pregame bullpen session and didn't have much life on his fastball, but he relied on his offspeed pitches and showcased his evolution as a pitcher.
"That's something that you have to take upon yourself to recognize at an early point in the game," he said. "There's times where guys won't recognize that and they'll continue to try to find their fastball and give up hits.
"That's something that I realized early on [today] and was able to mix three other pitches in there with my fastball to keep them off balance."
The Cubs didn't have much offense Thursday, but it was enough to support their newest ace.
Rookie Arismendy Alcantara and red-hot Chris Coghlan started the bottom of the sixth off with infield hits. Anthony Rizzo walked to load the bases and Starlin Castro walked to force in a run. Veterans Justin Ruggiano and Luis Valbuena followed with productive outs to score Coghlan and Rizzo.
Brian Schlitter pitched a perfect eighth and Hector Rondon worked around a jam in the ninth to close it out for Arrieta and the Cubs.