CINCINNATI – It was an outing that was closer and closer to what Cubs fans would have hoped for from their biggest free agent acquisition from 2018. Unfortunately, the bullpen couldn’t hold up to the standard it has set for itself over the past month here in 2019.
After Yu Darvish left in the sixth innings with a one-run lead after an 11 strikeout performance, the Cubs would push their lead to two, only to watch it evaporate in the 8th and 10th innings.
A two-run homer by the Reds’ Eugenio Suarez and a walk-off hit by Yasiel Puig sent the Cubs to a 6-5 loss at Great American Ballpark on Wednesday night. It snapped a three-game winning streak and a golden chance for Darvish to pick up a win after arguably the best performance in his short tenure with the Cubs.
By no means was his effort perfect, but the starter showed more consistency than he has in any of his past outings this year and in his brief stint in 2018. Darvish allowed a run in the first and fourth but kept the Reds off the board in the other innings. He didn’t walk a batter for the second time this season and set a personal best in Chicago with his 11 strikeouts.
You have to go back to July 21st, 2017 when Darvish was with the Rangers to find a similar strikeout game (12 vs Rays).
The Cubs offense helped him leave with the lead as Addison Russell got the Cubs their first lead with a two-run homer in the second – his first round-tripper since coming off suspension. Albert Almora’s homer in the fourth made it 3-1 and that two-run lead held into the 8th, boosted by a blast from Kyle Schwarber in the top of the inning.
Eugenio Suarez, who drove in the game’s first run, would deny Darvish a win when he took Carl Edwards Jr deep for a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at five.
In the 10th, Brad Brach walked a pair of batters before surrendering a long fly to center by Puig that brought home the winning run with one out. It was almost a breakthrough night for Darvish, and in a few ways it was, though a win escaped him in the end.