"How could I possibly be upset right now?"
Those aren't the words you expect to hear from a manager after his team was just shut out by a division rival, even from the perpetually-positive Joe Maddon.
Yet that's what Maddon opened his postgame press conference with Sunday following the Cubs' 3-0 loss to the Pirates (18-20) in front of 36,289 fans.
The defeat ended a six-game winning streak for the Cubs (21-16) and it was the first loss since the bleachers reopened Monday at Wrigley Field.
Still, it was the end to a 6-1 homestand against the first-place New York Mets and a Pirates team that has made the postseason each of the last two seasons.
"If we had this kind of homestand for the rest of the season, I'd be very pleased," Maddon said. "There's nothing to be upset about. Zero."
The Cubs wasted a stellar start from Jake Arrieta, who allowed just one run on five hits and a walk in seven innings while striking out seven. It was Arrieta's first quality start since April 26 in Cincinnati.
"Outstanding," Maddon said of Arrieta. "Really good stuff. ... Not a bad thing to say about him. Their guy was really good. [Pirates starter A.J.] Burnett's pretty much reinvented himself and he's pitching at a very high level right now.
"We were there moment-for-moment. They just got their run and we didn't."
After averaging 5.5 runs per game during the streak, the Cubs couldn't muster up any offense off Burnett, who lowered his season ERA to 1.38 with seven shutout innings.
The Cubs consistently worked the count, drawing five walks from Burnett, but they only managed three singles off the 38-year-old right-hander.
Pittsburgh outfielders combined to make a handful of very nice plays throughout the afternoon, including two highlight-reel plays from Andrew McCutchen in center and a pair of running catches at the wall with runners on base from left fielder Starling Marte and right fielder Gregory Polanco.
"It was one of those things where we had hard-hit balls kinda at guys or guys made some pretty good plays to record the out," Arrieta said. "It's one of those games where you feel like you won at the end because you played fairly well, just weren't able to scratch across a couple runs or get the big hit in that certain situation.
"But guys had good at-bats today. ... We're gonna have games like that where the other guy is better than our guy. We just have to keep grinding and I think the way we've been playing the last couple series, if we keep that going, we're gonna be fine."
Starlin Castro and Miguel Montero each singled and walked, while Kris Bryant collected the only other hit off Burnett. Bryant left the game after the fourth inning as he was feeling under the weather.
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Addison Russell doubled off Pittsburgh's dominant setup man Tony Watson to lead off the eighth inning and Anthony Rizzo later walked, but both were stranded on base when Castro lined out to center.
The Cubs mounted another rally in the ninth as Jorge Soler reached on a one-out error and Chris Coghlan followed with a base hit. But Welington Castillo flew out to the warning track in right field and Russell grounded out to end the game and the winning streak.
Rizzo said the Cubs can feel the energy and excitement from the fans with the renovations at Wrigley coming together at the same time the product on the field is getting sharper and Arrieta called Sunday's game a playoff-type atmosphere.
"At the end of the day, as a team, we're excited about the way things are going, regardless of today's loss," Arrieta said. "And we're looking forward to the offday [Monday] and getting ready for San Diego."