By Avery Yang
CHICAGO (AP) — Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo keep homering. And the Cubs continue to pile up victories.
Bryant and Rizzo homered and Chicago won for the 10th time in 11 games, beating the Miami Marlins 4-1 on Thursday.
Bryant sparked a two-run first with his sixth homer in 12 games. Rizzo connected for the sixth time in 11 games with a two-run drive in the fifth against Trevor Richards. And the Cubs overcame another shaky outing by Yu Darvish.
“It’s never been just one or two guys, it’s been a collective effort,” Bryant said. “All of our success — it’s never been just one standout guy so that’s kinda what makes this team what they are.”
Darvish walked six — one shy of a season high — in just four innings, giving him 11 in his past two starts. Though the four-time All-Star allowed just one run and one hit, only 50 of his 97 pitches were strikes.
“It’s frustrating for him, of course,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We just have to keep working it.”
Darvish felt he had the right mental approach. He just didn’t get the results.
“Until last outing, I was thinking too much,” he said. “But today, I was focusing more on attacking hitters. Command was off.”
Mike Montgomery (1-0) threw three-hit ball over five scoreless innings in his return from a strained lat muscle and the NL Central leading Cubs headed into a weekend series against second-place Milwaukee on a winning note.
The major league-worst Marlins lost for the 10th time in 12 games, and Richards (0-5) remained winless in eight starts. The right-hander gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings.
“The guys battled,” Richards said. “That’s a good team over there. And we battled with them. There was good baseball this week. Moving forward, we’ll see more of that.”
The Cubs have homered in 15 straight games, matching their best run since the 2002 season.
Bryant, who hit a game-ending three-run drive Tuesday, got them started in the first with a shot to the back of the left-field bleachers for his seventh home run. Albert Almora Jr. added an RBI single with two outs, making it 2-0.
“It’s just kind of who I’ve been all my life, been a baseball player that hits home runs — since I was in Little League,” Bryant said. “It’s not something I try to do necessarily, it just kind of happens. When you are trying to do it, that’s when it doesn’t happen.”
Darvish threw 33 pitches in the third and walked three before striking out Neil Walker on a 3-2 cutter to end the threat. The Marlins got a run in the fourth when Peter O’Brien walked, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Rosell Herrera — Miami’s first hit.
But after Bryant walked in the fifth, Rizzo made it 4-1 with his drive to center. The homer was his 10th this season and 200th with the Cubs. Rizzo is the ninth player in franchise history to hit 200 home runs with the Cubs.
“That happens,” Richards said. “I have to do a better job earlier in the game. … If I do better in the first inning, that one doesn’t hurt as much later in the game. I threw it down and he went down and got it.”
Cubs: Maddon expects Daniel Descalso (sore left ankle) to return to the lineup soon after being held out for the fifth straight game. “I’ve got to talk to the trainers,” he said. Descalso has been limited to pinch hitting since he was hurt running the bases against St. Louis last week. And he struck out batting for Darvish in the fourth.
Marlins: RHP Pablo López (2-4, 4.03 ERA) looks to keep a solid run going when the Marlins open a three-game series at the New York Mets. He has a 2.00 ERA in his past three starts. RHP Zack Wheeler (2-2, 4.64) pitches for New York.
Cubs: The Cubs open a weekend series against Milwaukee that matches the top two teams in the NL Central, with LHP José Quintana (4-1, 3.40) going against LHP Gio Gonzalez (0-0, 2.61). Quintana is 4-0 in his past five starts.
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