CHICAGO – With the winds howling and the temperatures rising, the hope for the Cubs and Phillies is that their strong starters would be able to carry them to victory.
Yet both Jon Lester and Aaron Nola both had their issues with the other team’s offenses, the former more than the latter, as the summer-like day at Wrigley Field belonged to the hitters.
Unfortunately for the host Cubs, it wasn’t quite enough to bring home a series win over the NL East-leading Phillies on Thursday afternoon.
Philadelphia got to Lester for seven runs – four of them earned – as the Cubs fell behind by seven runs before their offense woke up. They got the lead down to two in the ninth inning, but a rally fell short in a 9-7 loss to the Phillies that leaves both teams with a split of the four-game series. Victor Caratini’s pop-up out ended a contest that featured 23 hits and 16 runs, with just a few more going to the visitors as the Cubs dropped to 29-19 on the season.
Early on it looked as if all the offense belong to the Phillies on what looked immediately like a day of struggle for Lester, who allowed an RBI single to Bryce Harper then allowed another run on a wild pitch in the first inning. Two more runs came in the fourth – including one on a JT Realmuto homer – to make it 4-0, Jean Segura’s two-run homer was part of a three-run fourth that chased Lester from the game at the end of the inning.
Anthony Rizzo would help the Cubs offense finally awake in the fourth inning with a two-run single that when coupled with an RBI on a double-play ball by Albert Almora Jr. After Philadelphia got a run back in the fifth, Rizzo’s solo homer that came after a two-run shot by Kyle Schwarber had the lead down to two. Andrew McCutchen’s second RBI of the day brought the lead back to three, but a rally brewed in the ninth for the Cubs.
A Rizzo bunt hit and a Willson Contreras walk got two runners on to start the inning, then a one-out double by Tyler Chatwood brought home a run to cut the lead to two. But Rizzo and Chatwood would stay on the bases as Addison Russell struck out and Caratini flew out, leaving the Cubs two runs short on an offense-filled day at Wrigley Field.