Cubs hit six homers in 17-2 win over Phillies
PHILADELPHIA — With just about a month remaining in the 2017 Major League Baseball regular season, the Chicago Cubs are still trying to all get on track at the same time to defend their World Series title.
On a beautiful Saturday night in the City of Brotherly Love, the Cubbies certainly looked like they had it all figured out.
Anthony Rizzo and Tommy La Stella each hit two home runs as the Cubs blasted their way past Ben Lively and the Philadelphia Phillies with six homers in a 17-2 rout at Citizens Bank Park.
The win snapped a two-game skid for the Cubs (69-59), who entered the evening three games up on Milwaukee in the National League Central race.
“We went through one streak where we got several guys kind of toasty at the same time, we haven’t had it with an extended period of time,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “No better moment than the present to try to get that happening for us.”
Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks (5-4) picked up his first win since May 24, a span of nine starts. The right-hander cruised through seven innings, giving up six hits and two runs while striking out a season-high eight.
Despite the lack of wins, he’s put up a 2.48 ERA over his last seven starts.
“I didn’t see any velocities today but I just feel so much more connected, my mechanics,” Hendricks said. “The last four or five games, it’s really started to click ... Today was more of the same, even from pitch one.”
Down two runs after the first inning, the defending World Series champions got on the board in the second thanks to a solo home run by La Stella, his fourth of the year.
Rizzo put Chicago up an inning later with his first long ball of the night, a three-run shot to straightaway center, after Lively had walked Jon Jay and then hit Kris Bryant with a pitch.
The slugging first baseman added a solo shot in the fifth, going back-to-back with Bryant as the Cubs extended their lead to 6-2.
It was the 16th career multi-homer game for Rizzo and his third this season. He had been experiencing something of a power deficit this month, hitting two home runs on Aug. 1 but then just two in the 83 at-bats since.
“It’s the end of August, so the body’s kind of in that period of just getting to the next couple of weeks and the adrenaline starts taking over,” he said. “At the plate, just trying to put good swings on the ball and it’s really not more complicated than that.”
Rizzo added a bases-loaded infield single in the seventh inning, finishing his night 3-for-5 with five RBIs and three runs scored.
Hendricks also got in on the offensive outburst, collecting two hits — including a two-run double — during a runaway seventh inning that saw the Cubs score seven runs while sending 11 men to the plate.
Lively (1-5) was long gone by that point, having lasted just five innings. The rookie right-hander gave up six runs (all earned) and five hits, though he did set a career high with eight strikeouts.
“They’re a good hitting team, and they definitely hit mistakes,” he said.
The four home runs Lively gave up doubled the amount he allowed in his first eight career starts for the Phillies (47-81).
La Stella added a two-run homer in the ninth inning for his first career multi-home run game.
“Obviously it’s not going to go like this all the time,” he said, “but I feel good up there right now, hopefully I can keep it going.”
Chicago’s Ben Zobrist capped off the scoring with a pinch-hit, two-run homer later in the inning.
Phillies left fielder Rhys Hoskins continued his impressive first few weeks in the majors when he smashed a 1-2 pitch into the stands in left center to spot his team a two-run lead.
Hoskins’ home run made him the first player in MLB history with 10 homers in his first 20 career games. It only took him 17 games to achieve the feat, a stretch in which he’s hitting .300 with 23 RBIs.
“I’m going to start getting mad at him if he doesn’t hit a home run every game he plays,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin quipped.
NOTES: Sunday’s series finale will pit Philadelphia RHP Nick Pivetta (4-9, 6.73 ERA) against Chicago RHP John Lackey (10-9, 4.90). It will also be the final day of MLB’s #PlayersWeekend, which has seen players across baseball using personalized equipment and nicknames on their specially designed jerseys. ... The Phillies are 19-19 against defending World Series champions dating to 2008, when they last won it all. ... The Cubs are five games into playing 20 games in 20 days, a stretch that ends Sept. 10.