Chicago – Yu Darvish and Craig Kimbrel looked like they did at the end of last year
Talk about a mixed bag for the Chicago Cubs.
Darvish pitched six shutout innings, Jason Heyward hit a key two-run single and the Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3 on Friday night.
Darvish allowed two hits, struck out seven and walked one, bouncing back nicely after he struggled in his first start last weekend against Milwaukee. The Cubs are counting on the Japanese right-hander to help anchor their rotation after he finished strong in 2019.
Asked how he felt compared to the last half of last season, Darvish responded: "I feel like it's really close or almost the same.”
While Darvish (1-1) appeared to be moving in the right direction, Kimbrel worked a shaky ninth in a non-save situation. Josh Bell and Colin Moran homered for Pittsburgh before Kimbrel retired three in a row to end the game.
Kimbrel also had a tough time in his first season with the Cubs, and then walked four in his first appearance this year.
"Still trying to find that breaking ball it looks like a little bit,” manager David Ross said. "He's still working on some stuff, definitely. Not where he wants to be yet.”
Darvish started Friday's game against the Pirates after his scheduled start against the Cincinnati Reds was postponed due to rain on Thursday.
"The game rained out early enough yesterday that I was able to go home quickly and relax, which was good," Darvish said.
"I had control issues early on but it got better after I adjusted my mindset."
In his less-than-stellar season debut on July 25, the Japanese right-hander allowed three runs in just four innings of work against the Brewers.
Pittsburgh’s lineup continued to struggle after a 3-0 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday night. It began the day with a major league-low.171 team batting average.
The Pirates got five of their seven hits in the last two innings.
"The best swings we took of the night were in the ninth, which was encouraging, especially the middle of our order taking good swings,” first-year manager Derek Shelton said. "Bell and Moran hitting the homers. I thought we hit five balls really hard in the ninth, with the last three at people. That’s an encouraging sign moving forward.”
Chicago also got a solo home run from Jason Kipnis in its fourth win in five games. He connected in the fourth, sending a drive to the empty bleachers in right.
It was the first homer of the season for the veteran second baseman, a suburban Chicago native who agreed to a minor league deal with the Cubs in February.
"I’ll remember that always,” Kipnis said. "Got the ball, too. That's coming with me.”
The Cubs added two more in the fifth, taking advantage of a combined four walks in the inning for Trevor Williams (0-2) and reliever Nik Turley.
With two out and the bases loaded, Heyward lined an 0-2 pitch from Turley into right to drive in Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber for a 4-0 lead.
Williams was charged with three runs, two earned, and four hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out six and walked three.
"Overall, I thought I felt great," Williams said. "The only thing I thought I could have done a better job at is executing 0-2, 1-2. I thought I was quick to get two strikes on a hitter and I didn’t do a great job putting them away right away.”
Yankees 5, Red Sox 1
In New York, Aaron Judge homered for the third straight night, Jordan Montgomery cut up one of the league’s hottest lineups in his 2020 debut and the Yankees beat Boston in their first home game of the coronavirus-shortened season.
Judge took aim at Yankee Stadium’s short right field porch in the third, a half-inning after starting a double play from right. Gio Urshela and Brett Gardner hit their first home runs of the season, Chad Green pitched two perfect innings in relief, and Adam Ottavino and Jonathan Holder closed up shop as New York improved to 5-1.
Orioles 6, Rays 3
In Baltimore, Anthony Santander hit an odd home run off Blake Snell and had three RBIs to help the Orioles beat Tampa Bay.
Baltimore trailed 2-0 in the fourth inning before Renato Nunez doubled and Santander followed with a drive to center. Kevin Kiermaier backed up to the wall, leaped and stuck his glove high above the barrier.
The center fielder timed his jump perfectly, but the ball glanced off his mitt and dropped over the wall.
Pedro Severino followed with a far more traditional homer — a shot to deep center — to chase Snell.
Brandon Lowe homered for the Rays, who have lost three straight following a 4-1 start. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo was 1-for-4 with an RBI for Tampa.
Astros 9, Angels 6
In Anaheim, California, Kyle Tucker had three hits and a career-high four RBIs, and Houston started a 10-game road trip with a win.
The Angels' Shohei Ohtani finished 0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.
Tigers 7, Reds 2
In Detroit, Spencer Turnbull and the Detroit bullpen combined on a three-hitter, and Austin Romine and Travis Demeritte each drove in two runs.
Shogo Akiyama was 0-for-4 for Cincinnati.
Giants 9, Rangers 2
White Sox 3, Royals 2
Twins 4, Indians 1
Mariners 5, Athletics 3
Diamondbacks 5, Dodgers 3
Padres 8, Rockies 7
Braves 11, Mets 10