MIAMI – Yu Darvish thawed out and then nearly overheated in balmy South Florida, but he found enough in reserve to throw his hardest to the final batter he faced.
Darvish struck out eight in a season-high 5⅔ innings for his first win of the year, and the Chicago Cubs adjusted to a big change in the weather to beat the Miami Marlins 7-2 Monday.
The temperature in Chicago was 5.5 C when the Cubs’ game Sunday against the Angels was snowed out, and it was 29 C with the retractable roof open for the first pitch at Marlins Park.
“The first inning was toughest for me,” said Darvish (1-2). “After the first inning I was so tired. But I got better after that.”
His final three pitches of the night were his fastest — 158, 159, and 159 mph to Lewis Brinson.
“I was trying to throw as hard as I could,” Darvish said. “I should do that next time. Seriously, I’m thinking too much about throwing strikes.”
Willson Contreras hit his sixth homer , drove in three and reached base four times for the Cubs, who showed they could take the heat.
“We were in short sleeves,” manager Joe Maddon said. “I didn’t have a thermal top with my hoodie, followed by my jacket, followed by hand warmers in the pockets, followed by gloves and a beanie.
“It was not necessary, and that was good. It was awesome.”
Darvish (1-2) allowed two runs, lowering his ERA to 6.11.
Indians 6, Mariners 4
In Seattle, rookie left-hander Yusei Kikuchi gave up a pair of runs in the first inning and another in the third.
He left after six innings with the Mariners trailing 3-1, having struck out five, while allowing five hits and three walks.
Seattle rallied in the eighth, cutting the lead to one on homers to Edwin Encarnacion and Omar Narvaez, but Cleveland closer Brad Hand killed the comeback with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Trevor Bauer (2-1) got the win after going 6⅔ innings, while Hand picked up his fifth save.
Brewers 10, Cardinals 7
In Milwaukee, Christian Yelich hit three homers, including a pair of three-run shots, and drove in a career-high seven runs to power the Brewers past St. Louis.
Yelich, the reigning NL MVP, hit his first three-run homer to cap a six-run second inning.
After the Cardinals tied it with three runs in the sixth, Yelich answered in the bottom half with a towering three-run blast to right off Mike Mayers (0-1).
Yelich capped his night with his eighth homer this season, going deep to lead off the eighth.
Dodgers 4, Reds 3
In Los Angeles, Joc Pederson hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Dodgers a comeback victory over Cincinnati in Clayton Kershaw’s season debut.
Retired broadcaster Vin Scully got Dodger Stadium buzzing with a surprise pregame appearance to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day.
Kershaw then gave Los Angeles a lift, even though the three-time Cy Young Award winner didn’t factor in the decision. Kershaw had been bothered by left shoulder inflammation in spring training. The left-hander allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings. He struck out six and walked none.
Former Dodger Yasiel Puig made his presence felt immediately, hammering a two-run shot in the first off Kershaw.
Puig received a mix of boos and cheers.
The Dodgers lost NL home run leader Cody Bellinger in the third when he got drilled on the right kneecap by a 153 mph pitch from Luis Castillo.
In Other Games
Mets 7, Phillies 6 (11)
Orioles 8, Red Sox 1
Rangers 12, Angels 7
Blue Jays 5, Twins 3
White Sox 5, Royals 4
Rockies 5, Padres 2
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5