Dazzling Darvish dominates Cubs

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Credit: USA Today Sports

After a frustrating end to the homestand in which San Diego scored just six runs in 28 innings against the cellar-dwelling Rockies, the San Diego Padres got back on the right foot offensively.

The Padres picked up 10 hits, scoring three times in the eighth inning to beat the Chicago Cubs. Yu Darvish dominated Chicago, Jake Cronenworth had three hits, and Eric Hosmer came through when the Padres needed it.

Darvish was stellar again, dealing eight innings of one-run ball while shutting down his former employer. The Cubs, save for Yan Gomes’ second-inning home run, could not muster anything against the dazzling Darvish. After the start of the game was delayed an hour and 20 minutes, Darvish looked somewhat shaky early on. He hit Willson Contreras before Frank Schwindel mustered a two-out single.

A Patrick Wisdom line drive got the right-hander out of trouble. Yan Gomes led off the second with a blast to left-field, but Darvish came up huge after that. He retired the next 11 batters and did not allow a player to earn their way aboard for the next 14. Jake Cronenworth said it was “Awesome to play behind him {Darvish}.”

The Cubs did not threaten again until the eighth inning when a pair of two-out singles put runners on the corners. Ian Happ, one of the Cubs’ best hitters, came up to the dish, but Darvish battled back, striking out Happ to end his night. 

The Padres offense did not arrive early. Cronenworth’s infield single was the Padres’ only hit their first time through the order, but the Padres came up clutch with two outs in the third. Jurickson Profar picked up a bloop double before Cronenworth tied the game up with a ground-ball single.

Neither team scored until the eighth inning, making Darvish’s performance even more important. Justin Steele baffled the Padres, scattering six hits across seven innings. The Padres put a lot of balls in play as Steele picked up just three strikeouts in his seven frames. They couldn’t seem to find holes, especially in the fifth inning. Ha-Seong Kim and Trent Grisham picked up a pair of singles to lead off the inning. Jose Azocar lined out before Jurickson Profar had a single taken away from him. Patrick Wisdom made a leaping play at third base, keeping the game tied. It was a frustrating night against Steele, but that all changed once the left-hander exited.

Rowan Wick entered the game in the eighth, facing off against the top of the Padres order. Profar started off the frame with a leadoff walk before moving to third on Cronenworth’s third hit of the night. Manny Machado came up with a single, putting the Padres into the lead. Luke Voit moved the runners into scoring position, setting up Eric Hosmer.

Hosmer had hit just .196/.240.227 in the month before Monday’s game, and he’d started with two strikeouts and a groundout. Hosmer then blasted a double into right-center field, scoring two crucial insurance runs to secure the win. After the game, Cronenworth talked about how it was “even sweeter {to win} when you play baseball, and when you play it the right way.”

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Taylor Rogers picked up his 19th save of the season with a shutdown ninth, striking out two of the three batters he faced. Rogers had pitched just once in the last wee but he did not look rusty at all and dominated the batters he faced. 

The Padres started their road trip in their best way possible, as Yu Darvish pitched like an ace. The Padres moved into a tie for first place for the first time since May 15. 

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