Darvish not as strong as Cubs hoped in debut vs. Marlins

MIAMI - The Cubs needed 6 innings out of Yu Darvish Saturday night. But during some trying times for the pitching staff early in the season, they're taking whatever they can get.

What the Cubs got out of Darvish was a lackluster 4⅓ innings, one night after they fell 2-1 to the Miami Marlins in 17 innings.

The offense held up its end of the deal Saturday, and Ben Zobrist's RBI single in the 10th brought home Javier Baez with go-ahead run. Kris Bryant later hit a 3-run double, and the Cubs went to win 10-6 and improve to 2-1.

Darvish and the Cubs fell behind 2-0 in the first inning before rallying and taking a 6-5 lead into the eighth. Reliever Pedro Strop, who did not work Friday, gave up a game-tying single to Miguel Rojas to suffer a blown save and set the stage for another long night.

After Friday, Cubs manager Joe Maddon was looking for some relief for the relief corps after using five bullpen guys. It could have been much worse for the Cubs had Eddie Butler not worked 7 innings out of the pen late Friday.

Darvish, who signed a six-year, $126 million free-agent deal with the Cubs on the eve of spring training, wound up throwing 102 pitches in his short start.

"He wasn't really sharp overall," Maddon said. "A lot of pitches. He showed glimpses where the command was good. At other times, fastball command was off. He threw some good sliders, but I would say overall, he just didn't have his best stuff tonight, and he got us through 4⅓."

Darvish, a native of Japan who pitched the past several years in the major leagues, signed with the Cubs on the eve of spring training. He said slow beginnings have been a problem going back to his days in Japan.

"Overall, I don't think it was too bad," he said through a translator. "They made me throw more pitches than I expected. The rhythm got kind of inconsistent there. No nerves. I was out there feeling comfortable. But it seems like every time it was the first game in Japan, it went not so well. I don't know why that happens, but in terms of today, everything was fine."

Derek Dietrich hit a 2-run homer off Darvish in the first. The offensive quickly got Darvish even. Kyle Schwarber blasted a 2-run homer in the second inning. The booming drive to right field carried into the upper deck.

Anthony Rizzo hit a 2-run single in the Cubs' 3-run fifth. Darvish struggled in the bottom of the inning, which began with Rojas singled off Darvish's right foot. Maddon and the athletic trainer paid a visit to Darvish, who said he was OK. It was the first of two trainer visits in the inning for Darvish, who said his right forearm began to feel like it might cramp. Darvish faced six batters in the fifth, putting five on and throwing 28 pitches and giving up 3 runs to allow Miami to tie the game.

Left-hander Brian Duensing, who did not pitch Friday, came in and retired the only two batters he faced.

Jason Heyward's sacrifice fly in the sixth put the Cubs up by 1.

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