CHICAGO – Yu Darvish knew his pitch count was climbing, but he wasn't exactly showing signs of fatigue, either.
Darvish took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his third straight dominant start, and the major league-leading Chicago Cubs defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 on Thursday night.
Darvish (3-1) allowed just one hit — Justin Smoak’s towering solo homer to right field with one out in the seventh inning on his 98th pitch — before Casey Sadler relieved to start the eighth. The 33-year-old right-hander from Japan struck out 11 and threw 104 pitches.
He's twice come within one out of a no-hitter, both times with the Texas Rangers. Those near-misses weren't on his mind against the Brewers.
“I know I'm not going to get another inning because of the pitch count,” Darvish said. “I just tried to keep the game close.”
Before Smoak’s drive, Darvish allowed only three baserunners. He walked Ben Gamel in the second and Orlando Arcia in the fifth, and hit Christian Yelich with a low pitch in the first.
“He came out looking sharp, strike one right away,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “For the most part he was sound in his mechanics. He didn't have to labor at all through the game."
Darvish notched his final two strikeouts, both swinging, around Smoak's homer.