The Associated PressNEW YORK (AP) — The only frustration for Yu Darvish during his longest outing with the Chicago Cubs was that one uncharacteristic walk.
Darvish went eight masterful innings, Javier Baez homered and drove in three runs, and the Cubs topped the New York Mets 5-2 Tuesday to take the opener of a pivotal three-game series in the National League wild-card race.
The pinpoint right-hander from Japan issued his first walk in six starts since his last one on July 23. Todd Frazier drew a free pass on four pitches leading off the fifth, ending a streak of 142 batters without a base on balls for Darvish.
“Sad about the walk. Four-pitch walk,” Darvish said, shaking his head.
“I tried to throw a strike, but I couldn’t throw a strike,” he added later. “So I feel like, embarrassed.”
Baez and Addison Russell each hit a two-run homer off Marcus Stroman, helping the Cubs improve to 26-39 away from home. Both middle infielders finished with three hits, and Baez had an eventful game all over the field.
The flashy shortstop made a tough grab to thwart a potential New York rally, contributed three extra-base hits and a walk on a perfect night at the plate — and was thrown out twice being overaggressive on the bases.
“When Javy’s got it going on, he does it all,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “That was just spry Javy out there today.”
Pete Alonso hit his 42nd home run for the Mets, becoming the first rookie in 81 years to break his team’s season record. J.D. Davis went deep with two outs in the ninth against Brandon Kintzler.
Following a five-game winning streak, New York dropped its fourth straight at home for the first time this season and fell three games behind Chicago for the second NL wild card. Philadelphia is two back of the Cubs, who trail first-place St. Louis by three in the NL Central.
Darvish allowed five hits and struck out seven in his deepest start since lasting eight innings with Texas at Tampa Bay on July 21, 2017. Still, he wasn’t completely satisfied.
“Stuff wasn’t sharp enough,” Darvish said. “Just game plan and pitch selection was — from me — perfect.”