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Arrieta's mindset unchanged during bid for perfection

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CHICAGO -- Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta knew he had a perfect game through six innings. Then Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton smacked a leadoff single to center in the seventh.

"It's nerve-wracking, especially a perfect game, because you've got to be ready every pitch," Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. "When they're working fast like he did and dealing like he was, it's always nice."

• The last Cubs pitcher to throw at least six hitless innings to begin a start was Ted Lilly, who threw eight hitless innings on June 13, 2010, against the White Sox. Juan Pierre broke up the no-hit bid with a leadoff single in the ninth.

• The Cubs posted a 7-3 win over the Reds, which was Arrieta's first win at Wrigley Field since Sept. 25 of last year against the Pirates. He now has a 1.17 ERA (three earned runs over 23 innings) in four home starts this season.

"I wanted to continue to execute pitches and try to pitch deep in the game," Arrieta said of his game plan. "Nothing changes [if it's a no-hitter]. You get to the meat of their order later in the game, and it's tough to continue to put those guys away like that, especially when you get to Hamilton. He jump-starts their offense [for] Todd Frazier, with his power, and Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. It's a tough lineup to handle. They made me work for it toward the end."

Hamilton's hit was big. The Reds center fielder now has hit safely in all seven games against the Cubs this season, and is 12-for-31 (.387).

Arrieta kept the Reds off balance through six.

"He's got a good slider and he's very deceptive the way that he comes at you," Cincinnati catcher Devin Mesoraco said. "It's really cross-bodied and it's almost like he's throwing from behind you, so it's a heck of an angle to try to hit the ball from -- especially for a right hander. And then for lefties, it's always coming into them, so that makes it tough.

Tuesday was Arrieta's first career start against the Reds.

"Stuff-wise, he's up there with some of the best in the league," Mesoraco said. "He's throwing 95 to 97 [mph], with the fastball and sliders at 91, 92 [mph], so he's tough."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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