Darvish yanked early against old club as Cubs fall to Rangers

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by - Senior Writer -
Yu Darvish was unable to shake off the demons from his frustrating 2018 season. (Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports)
Yu Darvish was unable to shake off the demons from his frustrating 2018 season. (Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports)

ARLINGTON, Texas — The first loss of the season for the Chicago Cubs (1-1) was rather deflating, as Chicago wasted two different 3-run leads against the Texas Rangers (1-1) at Globe Life Park on Saturday. A short-lived outing by starting pitcher Yu Darvish did not help matters for the Cubs, and a late 3-run homer lifted the Rangers to an eventual 8-6 victory over the visiting Cubs.

Three different home runs were hit in the contest, and the two teams combined for 20 hits. Neither starting pitcher fared particularly well on the evening, which resulted in the Cubs making a rather interesting decision to use starting pitcher Jose Quintana for four innings in relief. Taking on his old club, Darvish was able to strike out four batters in 2 2/3 innings and allowed just two hits. However, Darvish gave up seven walks and was charged with three runs before exiting with 75 pitches under his belt. Rangers starter Edison Volquez, meanwhile, was charged with four runs in four innings of work as part of his Texas debut.

Sluggers Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber led the way for the Cubs at the plate, as they each notched three hits and two RBI in 3-for-5 showings. Also for the Cubs, shortstop Javier Baez went 2-for-4 and scored a pair of runs. For the Rangers, third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, who homered off Darvish in the third, was 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI.

Three consecutive singles with men on base by Baez, Schwarber and Contreras provided the Cubs with a 3-0 edge in the top of the first. Contreras smacked an RBI double a few innings later to put the Cubs up 4-1. Darvish gave up the aforementioned 2-run dinger to Cabrera in the bottom of the third and was pulled soon afterward. With his first homer of the year, Schwarber cranked a 424-foot solo shot to center in the fifth as part of a 2-run inning for the Cubs that saw them go up 6-3.


Meanwhile, Quintana was brought in as a reliever to start the fourth inning, which was an interesting move on Chicago's part, especially considering that it came in just the second game of the season. Quintana saw his good fortune end in the seventh, when Rangers designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo tagged him for a 2-run single with two outs. Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. made his season debut in the following frame and was taken deep by Joey Gallo for a 3-run jack that proved to be the winning hit.


Pitching tribulations highlighted the loss for the Cubs, who were outscored 5-0 after the halfway point of the game. Edwards earned the loss to drop to 0-1, and Rangers reliever Shawn Kelley moved to 1-0 with the win. Jose Leclerc tallied his first save of the season for the Rangers. The 3-game affair between the Cubs and Rangers, which has featured a combined 30 runs through two games, will conclude with the rubber match on Sunday, March 31, at 3:05 p.m CDT.

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