Yu Darvish pitches well in close win over Rangers

by - Columnist -
Matt Kartozian - USA Today Sports
Matt Kartozian - USA Today Sports

The Cubs (11-9) returned to Sloan Park for this afternoon’s game, sending Yu Darvish (1-0, 2.70 ERA) to the mound to face-off against the Rangers’ (6-10) and their righty, Connor Sadzeck (6.75 ERA).

Presumably preparing for the Opener in two weeks, Joe Maddon would allow Rizzo, Schwarber, Contreras, and Almora to play on back-to-back days for the first time this spring.

In stark contrast to yesterday’s loss that saw the Cubs score 11 runs on 16 hits with four homers, the Cubs squeaked past Texas this afternoon by a final of 2-1, on just three hits.

T1: After retiring Choo (flyout), Darvish would walk DeShields, followed by a single (Guzman), advancing DeShields to third. Darvish would fan Davidson, but Pence would hit a shot off of Victor Caratini’s glove, scoring DeShields. The inning would end on a flyout by Kiner-Falefa. Cubs down 1-0.

B1: (TEX- RHP: Sadzeck) After Ben Zobrist was robbed by DeShields; Kris Bryant would get beaned (2nd time this spring), followed by Anthony Rizzo’s walk. Sadzek would fan Javier Baez, but that would be all, as he was replaced righty, Adrian Sampson (3.86 ERA). With two away, leave it to Kyle Schwarber who singled to right, tying the game. Willson Contreras would ground out to end the inning. Game tied 1-1.

T2: Forsythe would double to start the frame, Tocci would reach after being plunked by Darvish. No harm though, as Darvish would get White (flyout), Choo (Fielder’s choice) and DeShields (groundout).

B2: (TEX- RHP: Sampson) Cubs go down 1-2-3. Jason Heyward (flyout), and a pair of groundouts (Caratini and Albert Almora Jr.) Game tied 1-1.

T3: Clearly, upset with himself, Darvish returned, taking no prisoners this time. Three-up, three down on two strikeouts (Guzman, Davidson) and a groundout (Pence).

B3: (TEX- RHP: Sampson) Zo would leadoff the inning with a single to center, then advance to second on KB’s groundout (questionable call). Rizzo would fan, followed by Javy’s groundout to end the inning. Game tied 1-1.

T4: Back for the fourth, Darvish would walk Kiner-Falefa to open the inning. After Forsythe struck out, and with Tocci at-bat, Kiner-Felafa would take second on a wild pitch. Tocci would groundout and White would fan to end a scoreless half-inning.

B4: (TEX- RHP: Sampson) Cubs go 1-2-3 again (Schwarber: strikeout, Contreras: lineout, Heyward: flyout). Game deadlocked at 1-1.

T5: Exceeding more innings than any starter so far this spring, Darvish returned for the fifth, but a leadoff walk to Choo would end his day; replaced by LHP Brian Duensing. DeShields would fly out to start Duensing’s day, but Jenkins (pinch-running for Choo) would tag and take second. Duensing would retire Guzman (flyout), but walk Davidson, before getting Pence to fly out.

B5: (TEX- RHP: Sampson) Caratini, Almora and Zobrist go down in order on a flyout and a pair of groundouts, respectively. Game tied 1-1.

T6: Duensing would get Kiner-Falefa on a flyout to start the frame, but Maddon would pull him for Righty, Brandon Kintzler who would finish the inning clean on a strikeout (Forsythe) and a groundout (Tocci).

B6: (TEX- LHP: Springs) Throwing fire, Springs would quickly take Bryant and Rizzo by strikeout, but Baez would hit a line-drive single to center (pinch runner: Nico Hoerner). Unfortunately, Schwarbs would ground back to the mound to end the frame. Stalemate at 1-1.

T7: Right-hander Duane Underwood, Jr. would serve up a leadoff single to White, who would then steal second. Underwood would fan Jenkins, then take Granite by pop-up and Terry by groundout, keeping the game tied at one.

B7: (TEX- RHP: Springs) Contreras just about broke the tie to lead off the seventh, but Jenkins had room to make a play. Heyward would whiff, and Caratini would ground out to end another 1-2-3 inning. Still tied 1-1.

T8: Rowan Wick would take the mound, quickly retiring Dow (groundout) and Pence (strikeout-looking), before walking Bandy. A strikeout against Frainyer Chavez would end the inning.

B8: (TEX- RHP: Valdez) Almora would groundout to open the inning, but Zack Short would walk, steal second, and then swipe third with just one-away. Ryan Court would finally break the tie with a sac fly to shallow right, scoring Short. The Rangers would remove Springs and replace him with LHP CD Pelham, who retire Cristhian Adames on a groundout to end the inning. Cubs lead 2-1.

T9: Righty, Duane Underwood would finish the day, striking out McReynolds, then issuing a walk to Jenkins. Franciso Arcia would cut down Jenkins trying to steal second; the Norwood would end the game on a strikeout (Granite). Cubs win 2-1.

The Cubs will head to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, AZ tomorrow to take on the White Sox. Cole Hamels will get the start for the Cubbies, while righty, Lucas Giolito (0-1, 6.75 ERA) will take the mound for the Sox. This game is scheduled to be televised on WGN, MLBN, and MLB.TV, beginning at 3:05 PM Central.

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