Before the tension-filled seventh and eighth innings, Arrieta continued his remarkable June ascent with six perfect innings before settling for a 7-3 victory that once was in doubt.
"I knew what was going on," Arrieta said.
Despite Arrieta's dominance, the Reds actually placed the tying runs on base in the seventh against him and in the eighth against four relievers. The Cubs, who snapped a three-game losing streak, took advantage of Joey Votto's fielding error in the bottom of the eighth to add three runs and coast to the victory.
Pitching in front of scouts that included representatives of the Blue Jays and Angels, Arrieta overwhelmed the Reds with a 96 mph fastball, a sharp slider and an off-speed curve while showing few affects from a 53-minute rain delay before the start of the game.
In five June starts, Arrieta (4-1) is 3-0 with a 1.14 ERA. More impressive is that he has walked only two while striking out 36 in his last 27 innings.
Arrieta settled down after a 20-pitch first inning to finish with nine strikeouts and no walks. He struck out Billy Hamilton on a low, inside curve to start the fourth, and then threw a 95 mph fastball past Jay Bruce in the fifth.
Arrieta struck out the side in the sixth, starting with a 79 mph off-speed pitch to Skip Schumaker and coming back with a 94 mph fastball on the outside corner to fool Zack Cozart.
The Cubs added two runs in the sixth, with Arrieta starting the rally with a walk off Homer Bailey. But after spending a long time on the basepaths, Arrieta didn't return to the mound in a crisp manner.
"I was gassed," Arrieta said.
Hamilton snapped Arrieta's perfect game bid with a single up the middle to start the seventh, and the Reds cut their four-run deficit in half on two-out hits from Devin Mesoraco and Bruce before Arrieta struck out Ryan Ludwick to stop the rally and cap his 94-pitch performance.
The Cubs needed four relievers during a harrowing eighth that finally ended when third baseman Mike Olt made a diving stop to retire Todd Frazier — who represented the go-ahead run.
Meanwhile, Anthony Rizzo continued his late push for National League All-Star consideration with a home run in the fourth, his 17th of the season, his second in as many games, his third in four games and his 10th since May 22.
Before the game, Rizzo was asked again about his hopes of earning his first NL All-Star selection.
"If anyone says they don't care about being an All-Star, they're lying," Rizzo said. "It's something you dream about as a kid. That, and winning a World Series. When the time gets here, it gets here. It's a long ways away and there are a lot of great players in the league as well.''