Cubs hang on as Darvish earns his first win at Wrigley
This win's for Yu.
And a few more like them will be "Yuuuuge" for the Chicago Cubs in the long run.
Yu Darvish finally earned his first victory at Wrigley Field for the Cubs during Wednesday's 5-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
Darvish was dominant over 6 innings, pitching shutout ball and giving up 2 hits while walking none and striking out seven.
He improved to 3-4 for the season with his first victory overall since April 27 at Arizona.
"It's amazing," said Darvish, who signed a six-year deal with the Cubs before last season, but whose 2018 was cut short by injury. "First win at Wrigley, I was always looking for that first win."
Believe it or not, Darvish leads the Cubs' staff in starts with 20. On Wednesday, he turned in his second straight quality start and third straight of at least 6 innings.
Against the Reds, he did not allow a hit until two outs in the fifth, when Juan Graterol singled.
Darvish also outdueled Sonny Gray, who gave up a solo homer to Kris Bryant in the first and another to Addison Russell in the second.
"How about it?" said manager Joe Maddon, whose Cubs are 5-1 on the homestand and 52-44 overall, good for first place in the National League Central. "Good for him. He threw really well. He kind of had no-hit stuff. I was thinking that. But so did their guy. Those two pitchers right there, that's as good of stuff as you're going to see. Our guys were coming back shaking their heads. I know they (The Reds) were, also."
From the get-go, Darvish -- along with Bryant -- was going to be key to determining how far the Cubs would go this year. It's even more important now, with lefty Cole Hamels still on the injured list and right-hander Kyle Hendricks finding his way fully back after a stint on the IL.
Darvish finished with a flourish, with his 83rd and final pitch of the game being a 97-mph fastball to strike out Yasiel Puig with a man on in the sixth.
When Darvish came off the field, the crowd gave him the "Yuuuuuu" treatment.
"The people yelling for him coming off the field is awesome," Maddon said. "I know he feels that in a positive way, and he deserved it. He knows where the fastball is going, and he wants to throw it.
"He's a big boy. He went through a lot last year and how this year began and where he's at right now. There's no reason to not believe that he's going to be able to continue along this path, with good health. He's pretty confident right now."
The Cubs added a couple big insurance runs in the seventh on Jason Heyward's 2-run double. The Reds scored a pair off Brandon Kintzler in the eighth before Anthony Rizzo's RBI infield hit in the eighth set the stage for Craig Kimbrel to earn his fourth save.
Cubs pitchers have turned in 6 straight quality starts. Rizzo, too, notices the Darvish difference.
"It's fun to be pitching with confidence," Rizzo said. "We've got good starters. We have veteran pitchers who know what they're doing. It's fun to watch Yu pitch like that and have a great outing like that. The more confident he is, the better off we are."