CINCINNATI (AP) — More than seven weeks into the season, Yu Darvish finally has his first win for the Chicago Cubs.
Darvish recovered from a shaky start and Kyle Schwarber hit one of Chicago’s three home runs Sunday in a 6-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Schwarber, Javier Baez and Ben Zobrist dusted off their power strokes after each of them had gone a while without a home run. Schwarber launched a two-run drive and Baez and Zobrist each added a solo shot to help the Cubs take three of four in the series.
Darvish (1-3) went six innings and allowed only two hits, both in the first, during his eighth start since signing a $126 million, six-year contract with Chicago last offseason.
“He had really good stuff,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “After the first inning, he was commanding his fastball. He was dotting them up at 95-96 (mph), and when he can do that, it makes his slider one of the best pitches in baseball.”
Tyler Mahle gave up all three Chicago long balls, passing Homer Bailey for the team lead in homers allowed with 13. The Cubs reached Mahle (3-6) for seven hits, two walks and four runs. He struck out six.
Chicago outscored the Reds 16-1 over the final two games of the series while completing a 4-2 road trip. The Reds are 2-5 since sweeping the Dodgers in a four-game series at Los Angeles for the first time since August 1976.
“It was great to come out here and swing the bats well and have the pitchers do what they did,” said Schwarber, ejected by plate umpire John Tumpane for saying something after taking a called third strike to end the seventh. “The Reds played good out there (in California). We knew that coming in.”
The Reds scored their only run on Scott Schebler’s bases-loaded infield single with two outs in the first.
Cubs shortstop Addison Russell went deep into the hole to backhand the ball, but he couldn’t hang onto it. Darvish retired the following eight batters and nine of the next 10.
“Darvish was throwing some off-speed stuff and this and that,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “All of a sudden, he decided to throw some hard stuff in an area up around the chest that was very hard to hit and very hard to lay off of.”
Schwarber, who grew up and went to high school 30 miles north of Cincinnati, gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead in the second with his first home run since April 26. Baez, who went into the game leading the National League with 37 RBIs, followed with his first since May 7.
Zobrist led off the fifth with his second homer of the season and first since April 8. The Cubs capitalized on first baseman Joey Votto’s throwing error to add two unearned runs in the seventh.