Despite an Improved Effort from Darvish, Lyles Dominates as Cubs Fall to Pirates 5-2

Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- It was frigid at Wrigley Field last night as the Cubs (3-7) took on the Pittsburgh Pirates (5-4) in Game 2 of a 3-game set. Yu Darvish, who has struggled through two starts this season, was looking to bounce back against Pittsburgh.

Despite serving up a 1st-inning line-drive HR into the basket to Pirates’ catcher Francisco Cervelli and a Starling Marte 2-run moonshot in the 3rd, Darvish overall pitched well.

Darvish got himself into a 6th-inning jam when he gave up one-out singles to Starling Marte and Francisco Cervelli, forcing Cubs’ manager to go to the bullpen and bring in southpaw Kyle Ryan to face Pirates’ first-baseman Josh Bell with runners on 1st and 3rd. Bell took a 1-1 Ryan offering for a line-drive single to right-field, scoring Marte to give the Pirates a 4-1 lead. A throwing error on a pickoff attempt allowed Cervelli to score from 3rd and give the Pirates their 5th and final run of the game.

Darvish was charged with the two runs giving him a final stat-line of 5 hits, 5 runs, 4 earned, and striking out 4 in 5 ⅓ innings. One issue that has plagued the right-hander was walks. He didn’t issue any walks to Pirate hitters, where in his previous two starts, he walked 11 in 6 ⅔ innings.

His counterpart, Jordan Lyles was dominant against Cubs’ hitters going 6 innings, allowing 1 run on 3 hits, walking 1, and striking out 10. The only run the Pittsburgh right-hander surrendered was a solo-homerun to Jason Heyward into the teeth of the wind, just left of dead-centerfield in the 5th. Heyward accounted for 3 of the Cubs’ six hits.

The Northsiders tried to mount a comeback in the 8th. With one out, Kris Bryant singled to right and Anthony Rizzo drew a walk to put runners on 1st and 3rd. Javier Baez drilled a line-drive to left-field for an RBI double, scoring Bryant from 2nd to inch the Cubs one-run closer, making the score 5-2. A Kyle Schwarber strikeout and Willson Contreras line-out ended the Cubs’ comeback threat.

In the 9th, Jason Heyward led off with a single, but Pirates’ closer Felipe Vazquez got Albert Almora Jr., Mark Zagunis, and David Bote to go down swinging, slamming the door on the Cubs for his 3rd save of the season and a Pittsburgh 5-2 win.

Jordan Lyles picks up the win for his first of the year while Darvish’s record falls to 0-2.

The Pirates’ victory improved their record to 6-4, dropping the Cubs’ record to 3-8.

Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon saw some positives about Darvish pitching in the cold conditions. “It was very, very cold out there. He handled it extremely well. From the very first pitch, he had great poise. I thought his confidence was outstanding. First of all, I was impressed under the circumstances. Second of all, by the fact that he may have found some things tonight regarding his delivery and the way the ball is coming out of his hand. Everything about him was upbeat, I thought.”

Although being pulled from the game after 77 pitches in the 6th, Darvish said, “I feel I still could go, for sure. But I respect Joe’s decision all the time, so I understand.”

The third and rubber game of the series is tonight at 7:05 PM with Jose Quintana(0-1 10.29) vs. Joe Musgrove(1-0 0.00)

IN CUBS NEWS:

  • Prior to the game, the Cubs announced that Tyler Chatwood will start Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels.
  • After a 3-4 game last night, Cubs’ RF Jason Heyward is hitting .500(7-14) with 4 HR, 6 RBI, 8 R, and 6 BB over his last 5 games.