Darvish pitched six shutout innings to earn his third win of the season, and Craig Kimbrel earned his fourth save of the year as the Cubs won the rubber match of a three-game set against the Reds.
Bryant’s home run, his 20th of the season, came in the first inning of the game, and Russell hit a solo shot off of Reds starter Sonny Gray in the second inning, his sixth of the year.
Yasiel Puig and Nick Senzel each drove in runs for the Reds, but it wasn’t enough as they fell to seven and a half games behind the Cubs in the National League Central race.
The Cubs wasted no time getting on the board in the first inning of the game, as Bryant smacked a solo home run to center field to put Chicago ahead 1-0. In the second inning, Russell connected with a long home run to left field, extending the lead to 2-0.
With those two runs, Darvish was able to keep the Reds at bay, pitching six scoreless innings and giving up just two hits as he struck out seven batters. He ultimately gave way to Kyle Ryan in the seventh, who worked a scoreless inning for the North Siders.
The Cubs added two key insurance runs in the seventh inning thanks to outfielder Jason Heyward. With two runners on, Heyward drilled a double into deep right field, scoring Bryant and Anthony Rizzo to extend the Cubs’ lead to 4-0.
The Reds didn’t go down without a fight however, as they scored a pair of runs off Brandon Kintzler in the top of the eighth inning. Senzel singled to right field to score Cincinnati’s first run of the day, and Puig muscled a single into left field to score Senzel and close the gap to 4-2.
Kintzler did induce a double play to end the frame, with Phillip Ervin bouncing a grounder to Javier Báez at shortstop.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Cubs scratched out another insurance run, as Báez scored on a Cincinnati error to make it a 5-2 game.
From there, Kimbrel cruised to his fourth save, giving the Cubs a 5-1 record thus far on their homestand.
The Cubs will be back in action at Wrigley Field on Friday as they welcome the San Diego Padres to town for a three-game series.