Yu Darvish struck out 7 in 6 innings pitched yesterday vs the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by John L. Alexander from April 13, 2018)
WRIGLEY FIELD- #YUUUUU Darvish got his very first career win at Wrigley Field as the Cubs snatched their first series win over the Reds this year with a 5-2 victory. That's five wins in six games since the All-Star break and fitting for a Joe Maddon led Cubs squad.
In his five seasons as manager the Cubs are 194-104 after the break with a league best .651 winning percentage.
Darvish pitched no hit ball until a 2-out base hit by catcher Juan Graterol in the top of the 5th. He said he finally stopped thinking about his surgically repaired elbow and doesn't have anymore pain. Lately he's looked like the $126 million man Theo Epstein signed last year.
"This is the most confidence I've had in my fastball. My cutter was a little off today but me mixing pitches helped out a lot. I'm almost like 120% right now. It's perfect...everything. My stuff is good right now," Darvish said.
Maddon thinks Darvish is feeling the most comfortable he ever has in a Cubs uniform. "He keeps trending in the right direction. There's no reason to believe he can't continue on this path. He's into it and he's feeling it."
#KBTheNatural (Kris Bryant) (20th) and #Addie (Addison Russell) (6th) hit solo bombs, #JHey (Jason Heyward) smoked a 2-RBI double in the bottom of 7 and #BigFolks (Anthony Rizzo's) RBI single in the bottom of the 8th led the Cubs offensive output.
The Reds closed the gap in the top of the 8th on RBI singles from Nick Senzel and Yasiel Puig off of reliever Brandon Kintzler to make it 4-2 but Kintzler induced a 6-4-3 twin killing off the bat of LF Philip Ervin with runners on the corners to end the the threat.
The Cubs played flawless defensive baseball and made three crucial plays led by #NewMoney (David Bote), #ALJr (Albert Almora) and #VC (Victor Caratini) to keep the Reds at bay.
Bote nailed Senzel at the plate in the top of the 5th on a Eugenio Suarez ground ball to keep Cincy scoreless. In the top of 7, Almora ran down a ball in center to stop the runners from advancing to 2nd and 3rd and Caratini's snap throw to Anthony Rizzo caught Jose Iglesias snoozing at first base as he was called out to end the inning. The Reds challenged but the call on the field was upheld.
The Cubs are 2.5 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central with have an off day today before the San Diego Padres invade town Friday afternoon for a 3 game set. They will head out on a 9 game road trip to face the San Francisco Giants, Milwaukee Brewers & St. Louis Cardinals from July 22-August 1.
FINAL- Cubs 5 Reds 2
Summary- Bryant hit his 20th HR to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the bottom of 1. Russell's 6th HR of the year in the bottom of 2 made it 2-0. A 2 RBI double in the bottom of 7 from Heyward extended the lead to 4-0. RBI singles from Nick Senzel and Yasiel Puig put 2 on the board for the Reds in the top of 8. Rizzo's RBI single in the bottom of 8 gave the Cubs a 5-2 lead and some insurance.
Player(s) of the game- Yu Darvish...he notched the first win of his career at Wrigley Field going 6 innings giving up 2 hits while striking out 7.
Play of the game- Bote nailing Senzel at the plate to keep Cincy off the board in the top of 5
Quote of the game- "I'll give it to my wife...maybe. She might not want it." - Darvish on what he's gonna do with the game ball for his first victory at Wrigley
Next game- vs SD 7/19
Jason Heyward is hitting .366 (26-71) in his last 19 games including 10 hits in his last 7 games.