Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Brown, Ruiz Squeeze Past Cubs in 9-8 Victory Over Them

SAMUEL BOTWINICK  |  Staff Writer
@avdbkr20samuel

With Domonic Brown accounting for the Phillies' primary offense this year, it is no surprise that he contributed two runs in his return to them in a 9-8 victory over the Cubs on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

It is ironic, however, that he almost cost them the game with a botched play in the left field alley in the ninth inning, considering that he has been quite sound on defense this year. 

During their recent five-game losing streak, scoring runs has not come easy for the Phillies.  They looked to change their fortunes early in the bottom of the first.  Michael Young, who has seemingly thrived in the lead-off spot this year, started the inning with a double that bounced over the glove of David DeJesus, and scored on Chase Utley's single to left to give the Phillies an early 1-0 advantage.

The Cubs countered in the top of the second when the Phillies, who, as a team, have made far too many errors this year to be at the .500 mark, displayed their ineptitude again.  After Nate Schierholtz doubled to right to start the inning, and advanced to third on Starlin Castro's fly out to right, he was able to score because of Cody Asche's late throw home, which also allowed Welington Castillo to reach first safely.  This proved costly since, after Darwin Barney advanced to first on catcher's interference, Donnie Murphy deposited his first home run of the season into the left field seats, to allow the Cubs to take a 4-1 lead.

Asche tried to make up for his costly mistake in the bottom of the second by leading off with a double to right.  Kyle Kendrick tried to compensate for his lackluster pitching performance by hitting the ball, scoring Asche to cut into the Cubs' lead, making it 4-2.

As if a two-run lead was not enough for the Cubs, a solo shot by Anthony Rizzo was in order to give them an insurance run and make the score 5-2.

The Phillies were not going to let a three-run lead deter them from achieving a victory.  After Utley and Jimmy Rollins had hit consecutive singles to start the bottom of the third, and Utley had scored on Brown's ground out, Darin Ruf rocketed a ball into right field, scoring Rollins, but was thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple, closing the gap to within a run, 5-4 Cubs.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Phillies were able to retake the lead.  Young walked to start the inning, and Utley just missed an inside-the-park two-run shot, tripling to score Young all the way from first.  Brown then grounded out to first to score Utley from third.  To triple the pleasure, Ruf drilled a solo shot into left to push them ahead of the Cubs, 7-5.

With Antonio Bastardo out for a 50-game suspension, the Phillies' already depleted bullpen has to play incredibly well in order to keep the lead.  Tacking on insurance runs can never hurt such teams.  After Asche led off with a single, he scored on Young's double to right giving them an even bigger lead, 8-5.

For good measure, and, partially because of the lack of faith in Jonathan Papelbon, Ruiz hit a solo dinger to the left field seats to help the Phillies with a 9-5 advantage.

Often, when closers are in non-save situations, they allow runs to score.  Such was the case in ninth.  After giving up consecutive hits to Logan Watkins and DeJesus, Schierholtz came through for the Cubs with a two-run single.  With the crucial catch needed to be made, Brown let the ball go right off his glove and into the left field alley, making the score 9-8 Phillies.  

Kendrick did not pitch well by any means, but still managed to notch his tenth win of the season, surrendering five runs, four earned, on six hits, in six innings of work, while striking out four.

Edwin Jackson did not fare as well, tossing five innings, surrendering seven earned runs on ten hits, while punching out two batters.                

The Phillies will look to win consecutive games when they take on the Cubs tomorrow night at 7:05.  Cole Hamels will search for his fifth win.



-  Samuel Botwinick is a staff writer for the Philadelphia Baseball Review.  Contact him at sbotwinick@philadelphiabaseballreview.com or @avdbkr20samuel on Twitter.

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