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Cubs Down Reds

Yu Darvish tossed six innings of two-hit, shutout ball to earn his first win at the iconic ballpark as a Cub and lead Chicago past the Cincinnati Reds 5-2 on Wednesday.

 

Kris Bryant and Addison Russell homered for the only hits off Sonny Gray (5-6) as Chicago won for the fifth time in six games.

 

Entering Wednesday, Darvish was 0-5 with a 5.50 ERA in 13 starts at home after signing a six-year, $126 million contract with Chicago in February 2018.

 

So when the normally stoic right-hander fanned Yasiel Puig for his final out in the sixth and a runner on base, Darvish turned to the outfield, hollered and pumped his fist.

 

Darvish (3-4) also won for the first time anywhere since April 27 at Arizona as he struck out seven, walked none and hit two batters. The right-hander had 12 no-decisions and a loss in his previous 13 starts.

 

Darvish hasn't allowed a run in 13 2/3 innings. He credits mixing his pitches differently and a confidence level of ''almost 120 percent'' as keys to his turnaround.

 

Jason Heyward drove in two insurance runs with a double as the NL Central leaders took two of three from the Reds to win just their second series since sweeping St. Louis on June 7-9.

Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save in five chances.

 

Sonny Gray nearly matched Darvish, allowing just two hits - Bryant's and Russell's drives - while striking out eight and walking none through six innings. Nick Senzel and Puig drove in runs in the eighth off Brandon Kintzler, but the Reds lost for the sixth time in eight games.

 

Gray has a 1.65 ERA in his past four starts for the last-place Reds.

 

Russell made it 2-0 in the second with a solo shot to left, his sixth homer.

 

Following a day off Thursday, LHP Jon Lester (9-6, 3.74) faces San Diego LHP Eric Lauer (5-7, 4.04) on Friday. Lester has won four of his past five starts with a 2.97 ERA during the span.

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