By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
April 5, 2014, 10 a.m.
Ryne Sandberg's return to Wrigley Field was a success as the Phillies downed the Cubs on a blustery Friday afternoon, 7-2.
The win was a total team effort. The offense collected 11 hits while Roberto Hernandez and five relievers shut down the Cubs bats.
Chicago carried a 2-0 lead into the fourth inning, but the Phillies answered with at least a run scored in every inning other than the sixth.
Hernandez was lifted after 73 pitches with one out in the sixth. He struck out five, walked one, and did a good job of keeping the ball down in the strike zone.
Chase Utley led the offense with a two-run home run in the fifth. He finished the day 2-for-5 with three RBIs.
The homer was Utley's first of the season.
"I was screaming, 'Get in the basket,'" Sandberg said. "It got in the second row, so it carried a little bit further than what I was thinking. I thought it was a basket shot. It carried pretty well."
"I knew it had a shot," Utley said. "I hit it OK, and I got it high enough to catch the jet stream."
Some other observations:
- The wind chill hovered around 28-degrees throughout the afternoon, so you can understand why the hardy Cubs fans that hung around to see the conclusion of the contest booed Sandberg when he made a pitching change with a five-run lead and two outs in the ninth.
- The early hook on Hernandez sent a signal that Sandberg is confident in the arms he has in the bullpen. Relievers Jake Diekman, Justin De Fratus, Antonio Bastardo, and Mario Hollands each notched a strikeout in the win.
- After having the worst offense in baseball during the spring, the Phillies have put together four solid offensive performances. The club ranks fourth in batting average (.300) and fifth in OPS (.826).
- Jimmy Rollins, who missed the last two games with the birth of his second child, is expected back in the lineup on Saturday.