The Cubs were looking to win their third straight game over the Phillies on Thursday afternoon. They would do it, but it wouldn’t be easy.
The Cubs were able to break through early, scoring in the bottom of the first inning when Addison Russell doubled to right off Philly starter Zach Eflin scoring Kris Bryant, who had singled earlier in the inning.
Matt Szczur doubled in the the second inning to score Albert Almora and expand the Cubs lead to 2-0.
John Lackey didn’t have his best stuff today, giving up three runs on nine hits. He started strong, holding the Phillies scoreless for the first two innings, but then gave up a run in each of the third, fourth, and fifth innings. The Cubs trailed by one heading into the bottom of the fifth.
The Cubs were able to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, but could muster only one run off a game-tying sacrifice fly from Miguel Montero.
The bullpen has been one of the most consistent parts of the early season for the Cubs and they performed well again today. Brian Duensing relieved Lackey with men on the corners in the sixth inning and used a line-out double play to escape the jam. Justin Grimm loaded the bases in the seventh before Pedro Strop came on to get the third out.
The only mistake from the ‘pen came from the man who’s been one of the best pitcher’s for the Cubs so far this season. Carl Edwards gave up a home run to Cameron Rupp in the top of the eighth inning to give the Phillies the 4-3 lead. For Edwards it was the first run he’s allowed all year.
Miguel Montero answered his fellow catcher with a homer of his own to even the score in the bottom of the eighth.
The Cubs had a chance to win the game in the ninth inning, but Ben Zobrist got picked-off on second base with one out and the game headed to extra innings.
Both teams had their chances in extras, with each of them loading the bases but coming up empty. Then, in the bottom of the 13th inning, Albert Almora led off with a hustle double. After an intentional walk to Ben Zobrist, Matt Szczur hit what looked like a sure-fire double play. That’s when Freddy Galvis uncorked a wild throw past the first baseman that allowed Almora to score the winning run.
It was a gritty win today by the Cubs and they’ll gladly take it.
Stats That Matter
- John Lackey was good early and faded late: 5IP, 3R, 9H, 6K
- Jon Jay went 2-for-4 with two singles. He also threw out Cesar Hernandez to keep the game tied in the seventh inning. Jay has been a solid addition for the Cubs so far in 2017.
- Kris Bryant went 4-for-5 with a walk in the game. He’s batting .321 for the season.
That was a grueling game, but the Cubs found a way to win. After going deep into the bullpen, a long outing by Kyle Hendricks Friday will be more important then ever.
The New York Yankees come to Wrigley this weekend for a three-game series. After a rocky start to the season, Kyle Hendricks has given up only two runs in his last two starts. He’ll look to build on that against talented righty Michael Pineda. The game gets underway at 1:20 CST on CSN (MLB Network nationally) or listen on 670 The Score.