The Phillies pulled off an important win Friday night, beating the Chicago Cubs, 2-1, on the strength of Asdrubal Cabrera’s walk-off homer with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Pat Neshek inherited a runner in the top of the 10th and, with some defensive help from first baseman Carlos Santana, pitched out of trouble. He got the win.
The Phillies have won two games in a row for just the second time since Aug. 4-5.
Atlanta lost to the Pirates so the Phillies are two games back in the NL East.
Phillies starter Nick Pivetta needed 105 pitches to navigate five innings. Despite the high pitch count and early exit, he got good results. He allowed just one run. It came in the fifth inning when Javier Baez clubbed a solo homer to left-center. Baez hit a first-pitch, hanging slider. Mistakes over the plate have hurt Pivetta in recent starts. He has allowed three home runs in his last two starts. Baez has 29 homers on the season.
The Phillies finished August with a 13-14 record.
The Cubs finished August at 18-10. They have the best record in the NL at 79-55.
Jose Quintana, the Cubs’ starting pitcher, entered the game with just two hits and 20 strikeouts in 42 at-bats this season. Of course, he singled against Pivetta in his first two at-bats. Quintana allowed just a run over six innings.
Quinn sparks again
Roman Quinn batted leadoff and helped tie the game at 1-1 in the sixth. He led off with a double and scored on a hit by Cesar Hernandez. Since Aug. 16, Quinn has played in 13 games and is 18 for 40 with six extra-base hits and 10 runs scored.
Good job by lefty reliever Adam Morgan to keep the game tied at 1-1 in the seventh. He used his fastball-changeup combo very effectively to get the dangerous Baez to line into a 9-6 double play to end the inning. Morgan lured Baez into an off-balance swing on the changeup.
More good relief work
Seranthony Dominguez pitched over an error by third baseman Maikel Franco and got a strikeout with the bases loaded to end the top of the eighth and keep the game tied at 1-1.
Hector Neris continued his resurgence with two strikeouts in a scoreless top of the ninth. Since returning from Triple A on Aug. 14, Neris has racked up 10 scoreless appearances and struck out 20 of 31 batters.
Manager Gabe Kapler’s starting lineup included Quinn in the leadoff spot, Hernandez in the No. 3 hole and a left-side infield of Scott Kingery at shortstop and Cabrera at third base. Kapler likes the energy and productivity that Quinn had brought to the leadoff spot in recent games. He likes Hernandez’s on-base percentage in front of cleanup man Wilson Ramos.
As for the decision to play Cabrera over Franco …
“Franco is going to be playing a ton,” Kapler said. “Cabrera felt like the right matchup for Quintana, a good opportunity to get Kingery in there playing good defense, also against Quintana. It's everything in combination. It wasn't strictly defense.”
The Cubs have the best record in the National League. If the Phils can survive this series, they will play 12 of their next 15 against the Marlins and Mets. The Phils are 8-5 against the Marlins, but just 5-8 against the Mets.
Zach Eflin (9-5, 3.99) and Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 3.86) are the pitchers on Saturday night.