Darvish dominates, Myers powers Padres past Pirates 6-2

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

PITTSBURGH — The San Diego Padres have the best bullpen in the majors at the moment. The most overworked one, too.

Yu Darvish did what he could to give them most of the night off.

The 34-year-old ace allowed three hits over seven dominant innings, Wil Myers drove in five runs and the Padres extended their strong start with a 6-2 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.

Darvish (1-0), acquired from the Chicago Cubs in December in hopes of helping San Diego chase down the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers, struck out six and walked one in a crisp performance as the Padres won their fourth straight. The four-time All-Star worked efficiently, throwing 63 of 95 pitches for strikes and permitting just one runner past second base.

Perhaps just as importantly, Darvish ate up 21 outs to give the bullpen a bit of a break. San Diego relievers entered the game having worked a major league-high 43 innings, including 8 1/3 in Texas on Sunday after starter Adrian Morejon left in the first with an injury.

Darvish made sure only light work was required against the rebuilding Pirates. His lone hiccup came with two outs in the third when Adam Frazier singled and Phil Evans followed with an RBI double that tied the game. Darvish retired 14 of his final 15 batters in a start that mirrored most of the ones he made for the Cubs last season, when he went 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA to finish second in NL Cy Young Award voting behind Trevor Bauer.

“It’s no secret what we had to do yesterday,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. “We’re obviously short-handed in the bullpen and for Yu to go out and give us those seven innings was huge.”

The game marked the 26th time in his career Darvish allowed three hits or fewer in seven innings. He admitted he tried to induce contact early to save pitches before a fastball to Bryan Reynolds in the third, one that felt so good everything else sort of came together.

“Obviously, you know that our bullpen had been taxed because of what happened last night,” Darvish said. “For me the goal was to go as long and deep as possible.”

MYERS ROLLING

Myers hit a two-run homer to the bushes beyond center field in the sixth off 21-year-old reliever Luis Oviedo (0-1) to put San Diego in front to stay. Myers added an RBI single in the first to go with a two-run single in the seventh and is batting .370 (10 for 27) during his seven-game hitting streak. Coming to the plate with teammates on base is helping his approach.

“When you’ve got guys that are on base, it puts a lot more stress on the pitcher,” Myers said. “You work your at-bats to look for a mistake.”

CAHILL CLIMBS BACK

Trevor Cahill, signed as a free agent a month ago and given a shot to fill out a patchwork Pirates rotation, bounced back from a rocky 2021 debut by matching Darvish nearly pitch for pitch. Cahill allowed one run on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in five innings, relying heavily on movement to offset a fastball that tops out at 91 mph.

“I feel like you’re never really satisfied, but I think I’m definitely getting to where I’m being comfortable out there,” Cahill said. “It seems like a regular season game form, I guess. It’s hard to explain. Just the whole environment thing, getting comfortable with runners on and all of that, the signs and everything that goes into it. I just felt a lot more comfortable today.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: Morejon was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left forearm strain and San Diego recalled RHP Nabil Crismatt from the alternate training site. The team hadn’t decided who will replace Morejon in the rotation. His next scheduled start was Friday at home against the Dodgers.

UP NEXT

Padres: Blake Snell (0-0, 1.86 ERA) will make his third start for San Diego after being acquired from Tampa Bay in the offseason. Snell lost his only career start against Pittsburgh, dropping a 6-2 decision on June 28, 2017. Only one player who appeared in that game remains with the Pirates: RF Gregory Polanco.

Pirates: Chad Kuhl (0-1, 6.43) will try to work past the fourth inning for the first time this season on Tuesday. Kuhl allowed five runs (four earned) in a loss to Cincinnati last Wednesday.

Swanson, Olson go deep vs Scherzer, Braves take NL East lead

atlanta braves
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images
7 Comments

ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered off Max Scherzer, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a crucial 4-2 victory Saturday night over the New York Mets and a one-game lead in the NL East.

The defending World Series champions beat aces Jacob deGrom and Scherzer on consecutive nights to take their biggest lead of the season in the division. New York, which held a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1, faces its biggest deficit of the year with four games remaining.

Atlanta will try for a three-game sweep Sunday night, with the winner earning the season-series tiebreaker between the teams. Even though both teams are headed to the postseason, that’s important because the NL East champion gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Swanson’s 24th homer, a go-ahead, two-run shot in the fifth inning, touched off a frenzy among the sold-out crowd at Truist Park, the ball sailing a few rows up into the seats in left-center to make it 3-2. Olson hit his 32nd homer in the sixth, a solo shot into Chop House seats in right to put Atlanta up 4-2.

Austin Riley led off the fourth with a double and scored on Olson’s single to make it 1-all.

Kyle Wright (21-5) gave up two runs and seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings as he won his eighth straight decision. The Braves have won 16 of his last 17 starts.

New York went up 2-1 in the fifth when Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil hit consecutive two-out singles.

The Mets led 1-0 in the first when Brandon Nimmo singled, advanced on a walk and a single and scored on Eduardo Escobar‘s groundout. Wright, who threw 30 pitches in the first, stranded two runners in scoring position to prevent further damage.

Scherzer (11-5) allowed a first-inning single to Riley and a third-inning infield single to Ronald Acuna Jr., who advanced to third on a fielding error by Lindor at shortstop but was stranded when Michael Harris II lined out to center. Scherzer patted his glove and pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

Scherzer was charged with nine hits and four runs with no walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings as the Mets were knocked out of first place for only the third day all season.

The Braves have won five of the last six against New York to tie the season series 9-all, outscoring the Mets 37-16 over that stretch.

Atlanta’s bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA in September, got a perfect inning from Dylan Lee in the sixth. Jesse Chavez faced four batters in the seventh, Raisel Iglesias faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 39th save in 46 chances.

Since the Braves were a season low-tying four games under .500 at 23-27 after play on May 31, they have gone 76-32, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors over that span. They were a season-worst 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets on June 1.

Wright, the only 20-game winner in baseball this season, hasn’t officially become the first Braves pitcher to lead the league in wins outright since Russ Ortiz had 21 in 2003, but the Dodgers’ Julio Urias has 17 and can’t reach 20 before the regular season ends.

Wright will become the first Braves pitcher since Hall of Famer Tom Glavine in 2000 to lead the majors in wins. Houston ace Justin Verlander also has 17.

Wright began the game 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts and one relief appearance against the Mets.

The Braves, who got homers from Riley, Olson and Swanson off deGrom on Friday, lead the NL with 240 homers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. Manager Buck Showalter said Marte is experiencing less pain but not enough to take the next step in his recovery. Marte has been sidelined since Sept. 7.

Braves: RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique. Manager Brian Snitker said there is no timetable for the rookie’s return. Strider has been sidelined since Sept. 21.

NICE GLOVE

Harris ran back and jumped to catch Nimmo’s fly against the wall in center field for the first out of the third.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Chris Bassitt (15-8, 3.27 ERA) will face RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.29) as the teams conclude a three-game series.