The Cubs struck first right out of the gate, as Kris Bryant launched a solo-homer deep to left off of Trevor Richards. Javy Báez drew a walk and Kyle Schwarber singled to put two on with two out. Albert Almora Jr. hit his own single to left to make it a 2-0 lead after an inning.
Darvish struggled all game with his control, he walked the bases loaded with two outs in the 3rd but hadn’t yet allowed a hit. Darvish buckled down and escaped the jam by striking out Neil Walker. A walk to Peter O’Brien in the 4th led to the Marlins only run, after he stole second and scored on a Rosell Herrera single, the Marlins first hit of the game and only hit surrendered by Darvish.
The Cubs starter was pulled after 97 pitches in four innings and Mike Montgomery, back off the IL, took over in the 5th. Bryant took a walk in the bottom of the 5th and came home when Anthony Rizzo dropped to one knee to hit a laser beam two-run homer to center.
A 4-1 lead was enough for Monty, who pitched the rest of the game without allowing a run. His only real trouble was in the 8th inning. Neil Walker reached base for the third time with a walk and Starlin Castro singled to put two on with one out. This time O’Brien did not create a run, hitting into a 6-4-3 double play. Montgomery pitched around a leadoff base on balls in the 9th to secure the win. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
The Cubs took advantage of the wind for two home runs and that was enough against the anemic Miami offense. Limiting damage from all the free baserunners early in the game was big as well.
While Darvish was not very good overall, striking out Walker with the bases loaded in the 3rd was a key escape. The former Pirate was the best Marlins hitter all series long, so it was relief to get him there.
Stats That Matter
- Darvish walked six more hitters and struck out seven Thursday. His 19.6% walk rate is six percentage points higher than any other qualified starter in baseball. I really want him to do well, but these struggles are very frustrating.
- Montgomery was bad to start the year, the fact he missed most of Spring Training probably was a factor in his rough first week. After building up his arm strength in the minors the past month, he was sharp relieving Darvish. With the rest of the pen overused from the last two days, Monty going five was a massive help to the Cubs.
- Bryant reached base three more times Thursday, safe to say Chicago probably won’t be trading him to salvage some value any time soon.
When the Cubs dropped the first game of the series against the lowly Marlins, it caused a blip of concern. While it was hardly easy, the North Siders bore down and won the next three games, securing their 8th series win of the young season.
The Chicago Cubs are 8-0-1 in their last 9 series. pic.twitter.com/MqAU9jQ7gQ
— Cubs Insider (@realcubsinsider) May 9, 2019
The Cubs welcome the surging Milwaukee Brewers to Wrigley for three games starting Friday at 1:20 CT. José Quintana takes on the recently added Gio Gonzalez in a game available on MLB Network (out-of-market only) and NBC Sports Chicago, with radio coverage on 670 the Score.