Smoak homers, drives in two but Brewers lose 4-2 to Cubs

CHICAGO -- Yu Darvish took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his third straight dominant start, and the major league-leading Chicago Cubs defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 on Thursday night.

Darvish allowed just one hit -- Justin Smoak's towering solo homer to right field with one out in the seventh inning on his 98th pitch -- before being relieved by Casey Sadler to start the eighth. The 33-year-old right-hander from Japan struck out 11 and threw 104 pitches.

Before Smoak's drive, Darvish allowed only three baserunners. He walked Ben Gamel in the second and Orlando Arcia in the fifth, and hit Christian Yelich with a low pitch in the first.

Kyle Schwarber hit a solo homer in the second as Chicago improved to 13-3 for the first time since 1907. Javier Baez, Ian Happ and David Bote each had an RBI.

Darvish signed a $126 million, six-year contract with the Cubs as a free agent in February 2018, but has been hampered by elbow and triceps injuries since coming to Chicago. But after a rocky first outing this season, against the Brewers on July 25, Darvish has been in a groove.

He's trimmed his ERA to 1.88 and has fanned 27 in 24 innings.

Sadler worked around a single by Arcia in a scoreless eighth. Rowan Wick allowed a single by Avisail Garcia and a ground-rule double to Smoak with two outs in the ninth for Milwaukee's second run, but closed it out for his third save and a combined four-hitter.

Darvish has twice come within one out of a no-hitter, both times with the Texas Rangers.

Cubs slugger Kris Bryant was held out of the starting lineup with a sore left wrist and ring finger.

Manager David Ross didn't disclose if Bryant would be available off the bench, but said he made the move out of "an abundance of caution."

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