The Chicago Cubs (13-9) appear to finally be putting together a solid stretch of games with their latest victory over the Washington Nationals (9-12). After going into extra innings in each of the last three, the Cubs and Nats were able to complete Sunday’s game in regulation thanks to a strong start from Yu Darvish and some timely hitting, via MLB The Show 20.
Darvish started against three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer looking to take three of four in the series and win their third straight game for the first time this season. Although Scherzer is tough against everyone, the Cubs have had success against him in the past. Sunday saw more of the same.
The Cubs opened the scoring in the 2nd inning, with Ian Happ opening the frame by walking and stealing second base. David Bote drilled a fastball from Scherzer into the right field corner for a triple, bringing Happ around to make it 1-0 in favor of Chicago. Victor Caratini, who started behind the plate to give Willson Contreras another day of rest, followed with an RBI double to make it 2-0.
The Cubs added another run in the 4th when Bote singled and an error by Adam Eaton on a fly ball from Caratini put runners on second and third with nobody out. Jason Kipnis walked to load the bases and with one out and Darvish helped his cause with a groundball fielder’s choice. Bote scored from third, making it 3-0.
Meanwhile, Darvish was dealing. He went six innings, allowing just two earned runs on six hits while walking just two and striking out 10. The only trouble the right-hander encountered was in the 4th, when Eaton led off with a triple and scored on a Howie Kendrick single to center field. One out later, Kendrick scored on a double by former Cub Starlin Castro.
That’s all the Nats would get. The Cubs scored again in the 5th on an RBI double by Kyle Schwarber, then got their final run in the 8th on a Jason Heyward RBI single that made the score 5-2. Craig Kimbrel came in to pitch the 9th inning, striking out all three batters for his eighth save of the season.
Notes: Castro was 2-for-4 in the game with two doubles, salvaging what was overall an ugly series against his former team. In the previous three games, he was 2-for-15 with no extra-base hits and an error … Monday’s day off comes at a perfect time for Kimbrel, who has thrown in each of the Cubs’ last five games. He has four saves in 5 1/3 innings over that stretch … With the Cubs needing help in their overworked bullpen, they brought left-hander Danny Hultzen up on Saturday and sent Dillon Maples back to Triple-A. Hultzen made his 2020 debut on Sunday, throwing 1/3 inning to finish the seventh. He allowed a hit but no walks or runs.
Darvish – 6 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 2 ER, 10 K
Rizzo – 3-for-5, R
Bote – 2-for-5, 3B, RBI, 2 R
Kimbrel – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 ER, 3 K
Castro – 2-for-4, 2 2B, RBI
Eaton – 2-for-4, 3B, R
Winning Pitcher – Darvish (4-1)
Losing Pitcher – Scherzer (3-2)
Save – Kimbrel (8)
Home Runs – none
Reds – 13-8
Cubs – 13-9
Brewers – 11-11
Cardinals – 8-14
Pirates – 7-15