LOS ANGELES – Starlin Castro has never been so happy to be charged with an error.
The Cubs’ much maligned ex-shortstop, starting at second base Sunday night, was squarely in front of Kike Hernandez’ sharp short-hopper, when it clanked off his body for an error with one out in the third inning.
By the end of the game, Hernandez was the only Dodger to reach base on a ball put into play against Cubs ace Jake Arrieta – who pitched his first-career no-hitter to beat the Dodgers 2-0 at Dodger Stadium.
“Believe me, it’s good to have that error,” said Castro. “That’s the first time for me to think that. It’s awesome.”
The call elicited little more than a shrug at the time it was made, but by the end of the game, it was the only question attached to Arrieta’s latest dominant start.
Not everyone agreed with the call, including some Dodgers – and including Arrieta.
“Initially, I thought it was a hit,” Arrieta said. “It was a tough play. It was a short hop. I thought it could have gone either way.”
Castro seemed sincerely to believe it was an error.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was more adamant.
“Yeah, it’s a tough call, but it’s right at him,” Maddon said. “The scorekeeper didn’t even flinch or hesitate. It immediately came up as an error. It was hit well, but right at him.’”
Castro may have escaped an entirely different line of questioning if Arrieta hadn’t walked Jimmy Rollins with two out in the sixth inning.
Hernandez and Rollins were the only two to reach base against Arrieta.
Castro did save the no-hitter in the seventh with a leaping snare of Carl Crawford’s liner headed for center to end the inning. He also ranged far to his left to snag a Chase Utley grounder, and spin and throw to first for the out.
Arrieta wasn’t paying attention to the play in the third, to the point that he didn’t even know he had a no-hitter “until an inning or two later.”
“Out of sight, out of mind,” he said. “Even if it was a hit, I would have kept the same mindset.”