Kicking off this five-game series with a win is huge. Not that you’re thinking this way exactly, but now even if the Cubs were to lose the next four games, they’d still be a half-game ahead of the Cardinals. That’s provides me a little extra comfort this Friday night.

Mostly, though, I’m just thinking about how dominant Yu Darvish was for his seven innings of work:

.@faridyu struck out 11 of the 22 batters he faced tonight! 👏

— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 5, 2020

The guy is the Cy Young leader for a reason – he has all his pitches working, and he’s got 11 of ’em. If he doesn’t make a big mistake, hitters have no chance.

Offensively, Willson Contreras led the way for the Cubs, which was so nice to see after weeks of struggles.

The Cubs bats made Jack Flaherty work from the get-go, with Kyle Schwarber’s seven-pitch strikeout setting the tone for an inning that wound up seeing Flaherty throw 43 pitches. He didn’t make it through three innings. When the Cardinals are trying to get through a five-game series, including a doubleheader tomorrow, that ain’t good.

So good, therefore, on the Cubs bats, with particular marks for Jason Heyward and Willson Contreras who each ground Flaherty down in the first and third, each with two outs, and each reaching base. Contreras’s two at bats ended in RBI singles.

Contreras also went deep later in the game to give the Cubs their fourth run, all courtesy of his bat:

It’s a 3-hit, 4-RBI game for @WContreras40!@BinnysBev

— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 5, 2020

As for Darvish, the only thing he allowed through seven dominant innings was a nearly routine fly ball to right center that caught the wind and then caught the basket. It was the first and only baserunner he allowed after five perfect innings:

Full box score.

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