Cubs

Observations: Phinally! Cubs beat Phillies, end skid

Cubs

The Cubs beat the Phillies 8-3 on Wednesday, snapping an 11-game losing streak. They improved to 43-44 this season.

"It feels really good," manager David Ross said of the win.

Here are 10 observations from the game.

1. The Cubs jumped on Phillies ace Zack Wheeler immediately with a three-run first inning. During their 11-game losing streak, they scored less than three runs seven times.

2. A 12-minute rain delay provided Wheeler a brief reprieve before the Cubs’ bats went back on the attack in the second. Anthony Rizzo hit an RBI triple immediately after play resumed, and Willson Contreras drove him in with a single.

3. Wheeler entered Wednesday having allowed five total runs in his previous six starts (39 innings). The Cubs scored that many off him through two innings — on seven hits that didn’t include a home run, nonetheless.

4. Ross was on to something when he said Tuesday the Cubs offense, after scoring 10 runs, “may have found a spark.” They scored another eight Wednesday, racking up 10 hits.

5. Wednesday’s offensive outburst came largely without two key lineup cogs. Javy Báez was a late scratch due to a right thumb sprain. Kris Bryant exited in the fourth inning with right hamstring tightness.

 

Patrick Wisdom entered for Bryant and later hit an RBI double.

6. Alec Mills left to a nice ovation from the Wrigley Field faithful after 5 2/3 innings of five-hit, three-run ball. All of that damage came in the sixth.

"He was excellent tonight," Ross said of Mills. 

7. Noted Cubs killer Andrew McCutchen supplied a pair of the runs off Mills with a two-run blast. McCutchen, who hit a grand slam Tuesday, entered the game hitting .304/.404/.509 with 24 home runs and 94 RBIs in 162 career games against the Cubs.

8. It’s gotten a bit overlooked because of the losing streak, but Mills has filled in admirably in the rotation. He’s turned in a 3.65 ERA over his last five starts, dating back to June 15. He pitched 5 2/3 innings in each of the last two outings.

“Obviously the success that I’m having is going to do nothing but help me further,” Mills said. “But really I’m just here to do what I can to help.”

9. Craig Kimbrel's appearances were few and far between during the skid. Wednesday was his second appearance since closing out the combined no-hitter against the Dodgers on June 24, also the Cubs' last win. He pitched a scoreless ninth.

10. The Cubs avoided the wrong kind of franchise history with Wednesday’s win. With a loss, they would have tied the 2012 team for their longest losing streak this century.

"It's nice to have some music playing in the locker room after the game," Mills said. "It's nice to give high fives, that's for sure."

On deck: The Cubs go for the series split on Thursday. First pitch is 7:05 p.m. Adbert Alzolay (4-8, 4.48 ERA) and Zach Eflin (3-6, 4.13 ERA) are the probable starters.

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