Yu Darvish strikes out season-high 11 in Cubs win over Brewers

Cubs starter Yu Darvish delivers during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers. | Jeff Haynes/AP

Darvish allowed one run on one hit over seven innings in Thursday’s 4-2 victory. The Cubs’ ace has allowed just one run over his last three starts.

It was almost a year ago when right-hander Yu Darvish started to hit his stride during his monster second half.

He has found that dominant form once again.

Trending upward in his last two starts, Darvish put it all together in the Cubs’ 4-2 victory Thursday against the Brewers at Wrigley Field.

He dominated from his first pitch and carved up the same lineup that he struggled against in his first start.

“His last three outing have been pretty good,” catcher Victor Caratini said through translator Will Nadal. “The first one coming out of summer camp, he was working his way back into shape. Still getting back into pitching shape, but he’s been doing really well.”

The Brewers got little or no contact, with only one pitch barreled up against him — a 110.9 mph lineout by Christian Yelich in the fourth inning.

Darvish did his damage with the cutter, tossing 49 and inducing 13 of the 15 swings and misses with the pitch. Darvish says the cutter has been just as effective as it was last season, but he has been mixing in his knuckle-curveball more to keep hitters off balance.

He struck out a season-high 11 in seven innings.

“The cutter is Darvish’s pitch. We know that’s his strength,” Caratini said. “We try to use that and combine it with his other pitches to try to bring out the best in him.”

After 6⅓ hitless innings by Darvish, first baseman Justin Smoak hit a towering solo home run.

“He had really good command of his off speed stuff tonight,” manager David Ross said. “The breaking ball was working – the slider, the cutter. Most lefties he was going deep with, finishing with some [splitters] or fastballs. Really kept them off balance. You really didn’t see a whole lot of good swings until that home run from Smoak.”

Darvish always has had success against Milwaukee and lowered his career ERA against the Brewers to 2.13 in seven starts against them.

He allowed that one hit, struck out 11, walked two and hit a batter. Darvish’s control has been on point, and he hasn’t walked three or more in a game since walking three on June 5, 2019, against the Rockies.

Bryant out (sore finger, wrist)

Third baseman Kris Bryant was out of the Cubs’ lineup against Milwaukee with a sore left ring finger and wrist.

Bryant jammed the finger and wrist making a diving catch attempt during the fifth inning of Wednesday’s 7-2 victory over the Indians.

He homered in his next at-bat in the sixth inning but was later removed from the game.

2 doubleheaders with Cards

The Cubs and Cardinals will make up last week’s postponed series as part of two doubleheaders when the Cards travel to Chicago for their upcoming series next week, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The Cardinals are scheduled to be in Chicago for a three-game set next week.

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