PHILADELPHIA — Wondering where the Cubs will turn for top-of-the-rotation help when they trade Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in the next six weeks?
Jake Arrieta may have offered a glimpse at the possibilities — if not a glimmer of hope for Cubs fans — with his best start as a Cub on Friday in a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the opener of a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.
Arrieta (2-1) took a no-hitter one out into the fifth and allowed just two hits in seven innings, matching his career high, with nine strikeouts along the way.
He allowed one walk, and just one of the two hits he allowed left the infield.
The Cubs improved to 2-3 halfway through a three-city road trip that concludes next week in Miami.
Starlin Castro followed Anthony Rizzo’s leadoff walk in the fourth with a home run for the Cubs’ scoring.
It cost him a bruise in the sixth when, with two out, Phillies pitcher Roberto Hernandez hit Castro with a fastball, prompting an immediate ejection by home-plate umpire Mark Ripperger.
Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg was ejected after a heated argument over the intent of the pitch.
The Phillies put runners in scoring position with nobody out in each of the final two innings. Pedro Strop escaped unscathed in the eighth, and rookie Neil Ramirez, who entered the game with a 0.60 ERA, survived the ninth to earn his second career save. He allowed a run on Domonic Brown’s two-out single.
Ramirez struck out Carlos Ruiz looking to end the game and leave runners at the corners.
Chris Coghlan, who replaced the injured Emilio Bonifacio as the Cubs’ leadoff hitter, singled in the first inning and went 1-for-4.