Darvish tallies first win as Cubs defeat Reds handily

by - Senior Writer -
Yu Darvish was in top form against the Reds on Sunday. (Photo Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports)
Yu Darvish was in top form against the Reds on Sunday. (Photo Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports)

CINCINNATI — It took prized offseason acquisition Yu Darvish nearly two months to do it, but he finally earned a winning decision in a Chicago Cubs uniform. Heavily outperforming Reds hurler Tyler Mahle, the Cubs starting pitcher breezed through the Reds in a dominant 6-1 win by the Cubs that featured three home runs by the North Siders.

The Cubs opened the floodgates in the second inning, jacking a pair of home runs to go up 3-1. First, left fielder Kyle Schwarber lined a shot to right that sailed out at 107 miles per hour. A two-run bomb that scored Ian Happ, the 376-footer marked Schwarber's eighth home run of the year.

In the very next at-bat, Baez cranked an inside slider into the upper deck beyond left field for his 11th home run and National League-leading 38th RBI of the year. Baez broke himself out of a slump on the afternoon, going 3-4 and even pulling off perhaps the most impressive double play of the Cubs' season thus far.

Baez manned shortstop today and used it as an opportunity to show off his defensive prowess. Sliding on his knees behind second base to collect a hard-hit bouncer up the middle from the Reds' Joey Votto in the third inning, Baez made a heads-up play by smacking second base with his glove and pulling off a jump throw to first base to complete the inning-ending double play.

Schwarber experienced a rather eventful game, too. Going 2-4 with two RBI and one run to his name, Schwarber followed up his two-run blast with a heady bunt single a few innings later. Taking advantage of a shift put on by the Reds, Schwarber led off the fourth with a well-placed single toward third base that enabled him to reach base with ease.

The Cubs outfielder's game ended prematurely, however, as Schwarber was ejected after striking out to usher in the seventh-inning stretch. Arguing a called third strike, Schwarber was thrown out by the home-plate umpire rather abruptly.

Chicago was still able to win handily, though. For the second consecutive game, Ben Zobrist performed well in the leadoff spot. Chopping at an inside pitch, Zobrist sent a ball sailing down the right-field line for his second home run of the year in the fifth frame. The one-run dinger put Chicago ahead 4-1.

Two more runs were tacked on by the Cubs in the seventh after Votto committed a throwing error on an attempted double play. With men then on second and third, Tommy La Stella scored on a sacrifice fly from Albert Almora, Jr. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo increased the Cubs' lead to five after that by bringing Zobrist in to score on an RBI single to right.

Darvish pitched six solid innings of two-hit ball on the day, striking out seven and allowing only one run. He looked shaky in the opening inning, giving up the Reds' lone run of the game in an inning that saw him walk the first batter of the game and hit another batter. The Reds went up 1-0 on an infield single by Scott Schebler but only tallied one additional hit after the opening inning.

While Darvish improved to 1-3, Mahle, who gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks, received the loss to drop to 3-6 overall. Winning 6-1, the Cubs (25-19) took three out of four against the Reds (16-32) at the Great American Ballpark, outscoring them 28-7 in a rather lopsided series.

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