Hoskins homers again as Phillies top Cubs
PHILADELPHIA — Rhys Hoskins has spent the month of August breathing life into a lost Philadelphia Phillies season.
He continued that Sunday.
Hoskins, who debuted on Aug. 10, started a triple play that gave the Phillies a momentum boost and later homered for the fifth game in a row and the 11th time in 18 career games, helping the Phillies (48-81) to a 6-3 win over the Chicago Cubs (69-60) Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.
“That’ll make you smile, winning two out of three from the world champs,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.
Hoskins first flashed the leather. With the Cubs holding a 3-0 lead and runners on first and second with no outs in the fifth, Javier Baez came to the plate with Phillies starter Nick Pivetta (5-9) already over 100 pitches. Baez sent a liner to left that was caught by a sliding Hoskins. Both Anthony Rizzo and Tommy La Stella had ventured far enough away from their respective bases and were easily forced out.
“They grabbed the momentum right there,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
The Phillies used that momentum to finally crack Cubs pitcher John Lackey (10-10).
Pedro Florimon led off the bottom half with a single and advanced to third when Cameron Rupp’s ground ball was misplayed for an error by third baseman Kris Bryant. Florimon would then score on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to 3-1.
Later in the inning, Freddy Galvis lined a two-run single to right field and was knocked in by the deciding blow: a two-run home run off the bat of rookie outfielder Nick Williams that put the Phillies up 5-3.
“Anytime something like that happens it kind of gets everybody’s energy up,” Mackanin said of the triple play starting the rally. “It got the players’ energy up. We battled. Lackey’s a good pitcher. We battled and that fifth inning where we got the single by Galvis and the home run by Williams that did it all.”
Hoskins launched his latest blast in the eighth inning off Koji Uehara. He became the fastest to 11 home runs in modern day history, doing so in 64 at-bats. The previous record was 81 at-bats by Shane Spencer and Gary Sanchez.
“To be honest, I’m just coming to the ballpark every day with the same mindset,” Hoskins said. “Good stuff just keeps happening.”
Hector Neris notched his 16th save, helping Pivetta earn a win it didn’t look like he’d get early on.
Pivetta threw 38 pitches in the first inning as Chicago built a quick lead. Bryant’s single loaded the bases with no outs and Rizzo’s single followed that and drove in a pair. La Stella’s fielder’s choice knocked in a run to make it 3-0.
Pivetta then walked the next two batters to load the bases with one out, but he struck out Rene Rivera and got Lackey, the ninth Cubs hitter of the inning, to ground out to escape further damage.
Pivetta allowed just those three runs in five innings. He walked four and struck out five.
“The guys played phenomenal behind me today,” Pivetta said. “That triple play was unbelievable.”
Lackey, who struck out eight in five innings, struck out the first five batters he faced. The Phillies had just one runner in scoring position prior to the fifth inning.
But then the triple play — the first started by a Phillies outfielder since 1964 — happened, and the Phillies woke up in the batter’s box.
Of course, it all started with Hoskins.
“Their guy who’s going to the Hall of Fame next week makes another play,” Maddon said jokingly of Hoskins. “He beats you with the bat, he beats you with the glove.”
NOTES: The loss marked the first time the Cubs lost a game started by John Lackey since June 28. ... Phillies SS Freddy Galvis has started in 129 consecutive games, the first Phillies player to do so since Jimmy Rollins started in 230 straight contests. ... Phillies closer Hector Neris has converted each of his last 10 save opportunities since June 28, posting a 2.73 ERA with 26 strikeouts in that span. ... The Cubs, after a six-game road trip, return home for a six-game homestand starting Monday when they host the Pirates. ... The Phillies begin a three-game series at home against Atlanta on Monday.