Yu Darvish continued his march to the NL Cy Young and Anthony Rizzo delivered two home runs against formidable Reds starter Trevor Bauer to propel the Cubs to a 3-0 win at Great American Ball Park in the first game of the Saturday doubleheader.
The Cubs scored the first and only run they’d need off of Bauer in the top of the 2nd when Kyle Schwarber led off with a walk, Willson Contreras singled, and Jason Heyward hit into a force out to score Schwarber.
They tacked on two more against Bauer as Rizzo took care of the heavy lifting all by himself. He hit a Kirk Gibson-esque bomb to right in the 3rd to make things 2-0 Cubs, then proceeded to knock Bauer out of the game with a more majestic dinger way up into the right field stands in the 6th.
Meanwhile, Darvish was cutting down Reds hitters, striking out eight against only two walks while giving the Cubs six scoreless inning in the first of the seven-inning doubleheaders. After yet another masterful performance, he is clearly the NL’s best pitcher halfway through the season. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Darvish was spectacular again and Rizzo provided more than enough offense with two solo shots.
Darvish got into a bit of a jam in the bottom of the 5th when Joey Votto and Nick Castellanos singled to start the frame, but worked out of it by striking out Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suárez before getting Freddy Galvis to ground out weakly to end the only real threat of the game.
Stats That Matter
- Darvish is now 6-1 with a 1.47 ERA. He has given up only 35 hits in 43 innings and has struck out 52 on the year.
- Rizzo was 2-for-3 with two runs, two RBI, and two bombs on the day to carry the offense.
- The Cubs only had four hits and two walks against Bauer, but forced him to throw 112 pitches through 5.1 innings. They forced him into the few mistakes he made.
The offense got back to its grinding ways as they found a way to win a game with the stingy Bauer on the mound. They’ll get a chance to go for the sweep in the nightcap.
Game two of the doubleheader follows the first game as Alec Mills and Tejay Antone square off in a battle of righties. The game can be seen on Marquee and MLB Network again and can be heard on 670 The Score.