MIAMI (AP) - Yu Darvish thawed out and then nearly overheated in balmy South Florida, but he found enough in reserve to throw his hardest to the final batter he faced.
Darvish struck out eight in a season-high 5 2/3 innings for his first win of the year, and the Chicago Cubs adjusted to a big change in the weather to beat the Miami Marlins 7-2 Monday.
The temperature in Chicago was 33 when the Cubs’ game Sunday against the Angels was snowed out, and it was 84 with the retractable roof open for the first pitch at Marlins Park.
“The first inning was toughest for me,” said Darvish (1-2). “After the first inning I was so tired. But I got better after that.”
His final three pitches of the night were his fastest - 98, 99 and 99 mph to Lewis Brinson.
“I was trying to throw as hard as I could,” Darvish said. “I should do that next time. Seriously, I’m thinking too much about throwing strikes.”
Willson Contreras hit his sixth homer , drove in three and reached base four times for the Cubs, who showed they could take the heat.
“We were in short sleeves,” manager Joe Maddon said. “I didn’t have a thermal top with my hoodie, followed by my jacket, followed by hand warmers in the pockets, followed by gloves and a beanie. It was not necessary, and that was good. It was awesome.”
Darvish (1-2) allowed two runs, lowering his ERA to 6.11, and earned just his second victory since signing a $126 million, six-year contract with the Cubs before the 2018 season. He made it through only eight starts last year before being shut down with right triceps tendinitis.
“I loved the emotion he displayed tonight,” Maddon said. “He was upset with himself a couple of times, and there was a sincere visceral reaction.
“He really wanted to pitch well, and he did that. Good for him. He keeps getting better.”
Three relievers completed the six-hitter.
Contreras walked to force in a run in the first, homered in the seventh and added an RBI single in the ninth. David Bote also drove in three.
Chicago scored three times in the first, and Javier Baez drove in a run with a two-out bloop double in the fifth off Trevor Richards (0-2), who allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings.
The Marlins (4-13) have totaled five runs in their past six losses. The top four batters in their lineup finished the night with averages of .152, .213, .221 and .231.
Miami went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
“We did a decent job of at least making Darvish work, getting some traffic,” manager Don Mattingly said. “We just weren’t able to come up with the big hit.”
The Cubs’ Kris Bryant was twice hit by a pitch, and Contreras was hit once. Darvish then hit Brinson in the back of the right leg.
Brinson left the game at the end of the inning but said he didn’t think he was seriously hurt. No warnings were issued.
Contreras shouted a profanity when he was plunked on the left forearm, and an umpire accompanied him to first base to ensure tensions didn’t escalate.
“I don’t want to get my wrist or my hand broken,” Contreras said. “That’s kind of scary. I got a little emotional, yes, and I should. But I know the pitcher doesn’t want to hit me in that situation.”
Each center fielder contributed a web gem. The Cubs’ Albert Almora Jr. robbed Curtis Granderson in the first when he made a running, lunging catch at the edge of the warning track and then slid into the wall. Brinson was near the same spot when he made a leaping catch of Ben Zobrist’s fly in the fifth.
Cubs: LHP Mike Montgomery (left lat) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday at Class A South Bend.
Marlins: C Jorge Alfaro (ribs) was out of the starting lineup for a second game in a row. He may return Tuesday.
Cubs LHP Jose Quintana (1-1, 5.14) is scheduled to start Tuesday against RHP Pablo Lopez (1-1, 6.60).
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