Darvish rebounds as Cubs beat Brewers 3-2
CHICAGO (AP) — Yu Darvish pitched up to the Chicago Cubs' expectations.
The $126 million free agent addition bounced back from a pair of poor outings to allow only an unearned run over six innings in a 3-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.
"This is certainly a confidence booster and I'll keep going," Darvish said through a translator.
Addison Russell scored the go-ahead run on shortstop Eric Sogard's seventh-inning error.
Cubs slugger Kris Bryant missed his fourth straight game after he was beaned during a victory at Colorado last Sunday. Maddon said the third baseman could return to the lineup on Saturday.
Darvish gave up nine runs, 14 hits and eight walks in his previous two outings, losses to Atlanta and Colorado. Maddon met with Darvish this week in Cleveland and told the 31-year-old right-hander to focus on one pitch at a time.
"Sometimes when you need to get out of your zone, you need to be reminded of it," Maddon said. "That was above-and-beyond good stuff."
Darvish said he felt like he was lapsing after Milwaukee starter Brent Suter singled off him in the fifth, but Maddon's advice kept him on track.
"We talked about not worrying about the previous pitch and what happened in the past, but concentrating on the pitch I'm about to throw," Darvish recalled. "Don't worry about the past and keep going."
He yielded just three hits with eight strikeouts and two walks, lowering his ERA from 6.86 to 5.26. Darvish left with a 2-1 lead, but Milwaukee tied it the score in the seventh off the bullpen to deny Darvish his first victory with Chicago.
The four-time All-Star, signed to a six-year contract, entered with just one solid outing: He allowed one run over six innings at Milwaukee on April 7.
Darvish got his second big league double and fifth hit with a drive into the right-field corner in the fifth inning against Suter. After trotting into second, Darvish slipped, but he got to his feet and pitched a scoreless sixth.
Milwaukee lost its second straight one-run game to the Cubs on a chilly, windy day. The Brewers arrived in Chicago with an eight-game winning streak.
"In weather like this, there are no runs out there," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Milwaukee's bullpen hasn't allowed an earned run in 32 consecutive innings. An unearned run was the difference.
With the game tied at 2, Addison Russell greeted Dan Jennings (2-1) with a single starting the bottom of the seventh. Russell took second when Jason Heyward sacrificed and was held by third base coach Brian Butterfield when pinch-hitter Victor Caratini singled to right.
Jeremy Jeffress fanned Almora for the second out and got Javier Baez to bounce to Sogard, who allowed the ball to squib out of his glove near second, then threw wildly past the base while trying for an inning-ending forceout.
"Tough play up the middle," Counsell said. "As he was trying to gather it to him and make the feed, it just came out a little bit."
Darvish fell behind right at the start after Lorenzo Cain reached second as Heyward dropped his leadoff fly to right. Cain stole third and scored on Jesus Aguilar's sacrifice fly.
Darvish was provided a lead the bottom half when Albert Almora Jr. doubled and scored on a single by Baez, who stole second and came home on Anthony Rizzo's single. Darvish left with the Cubs ahead 2-1, but Christian Yelich hit a seventh-inning sacrifice fly off Brian Duensing.
Pedro Strop (3-0) retired Jesus Aguilar — his only batter — on a flyout that ended the seventh. Brandon Morrow, the Cubs' fifth reliever, pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save in six chances.
Suter allowed two runs and five hits in five innings.
Brewers: INF/OF Ryan Braun didn't start after playing first base in Thursday night's 1-0 loss. He pinch hit in the seventh, flied out and remained in the game at first.
Cubs: Bryant wasn't available to reporters before the game. "I think he's feeling more like himself today," Maddon said. ... INF/OF Ben Zobrist (back tightness) could come off the DL when he is eligible to return on Saturday.
Milwaukee RHP Junior Guerra (2-0, 0.56) faces Cubs LHP Jose Quintana (2-1, 7.78) on Saturday. In three previous starts and 16 innings, Guerra has allowed only one earned run and 10 hits, but hasn't gone longer than 5 2/3 innings. Quintana pitched six shutout innings and allowed three hits at Milwaukee on April 8, his only strong outing this season.