Final: Chicago Cubs 7, Philadelphia Phillies 5 ❖ Attendance: 40,275
CHICAGO, Il. — Going into the bottom of the ninth inning, it looked like the Philadelphia Phillies (32-27) would be able to secure a series win against the Chicago Cubs (34-24). They just needed three outs from the bullpen. Unfortunately for the Phils, the Cubs took advantage of struggling relievers Seranthony Dominguez and Adam Morgan and came out on top. Phillies starter Aaron Nola didn't have the best command tonight. Over six innings, he allowed three runs on four hits and walked an uncharacteristic four batters. This was only the third time in 13 starts this season that Nola allowed three or more runs in an outing. Tommy Hunter threw a scoreless inning of relief, and Dominguez did well in his first inning of relief. However, he lacked control in the ninth inning. That same problem plagued Morgan, who allowed the grand slam that decided the game.
The Phillies offense had their hands full through the first half of the game with Cubs starter Jose Quintana. He struck out ten batters and only allowed three hits. The Phils celebrated his exit after five and 2/3 innings in a big way: Aaron Altherr homered on the first pitch he saw from reliever Steve Cishek. At the time, the home-run tied the game and was huge for the Phillies. Outfielder Dylan Cozens didn't start the game, but came in to replace Nick Williams after the latter left the game as the result of a wrist injury he sustained in the second inning. Cozens' bat helped the Phils take the lead in the top of the ninth. He hit his first Major League home-run.
If it weren't for the bullpen implosion in the bottom of the ninth, those two big hits would have been enough to hand the Phils the 'W'. Because the Phillies added another loss to their record instead, the overall lack of offense and 16 strikeouts need to be scrutinized. It doesn't matter how well the pitchers are doing if the hitters can't support them. The Phillies need consistent offensive production if they truly want to contend this season.
WP: Cory Mazzoni (1-0, 0.00 ERA) ❖ LP: Adam Morgan (0-2, 3.45 ERA)
The Cubs struck first in tonight's game. Anthony Rizzo led off the bottom of the second with a home-run off the scoreboard in right field. It was the first homer that Phils starter Aaron Nola has allowed to a left-handed hitter this season. Catcher Wilson Contreras followed with a double to left field. It looked like a ball that should have been caught by left fielder Nick Williams, but unfortunately the Phils' left fielder wasn't able to keep track of his distance from the wall and ultimately lost it. One out later, Javier Baez reached on a throwing error by Maikel Franco. This put runners on first and third with one out for Albert Almora Jr. He hit a ball up the middle that deflected off of Nola and right to shortstop Scott Kingery. He was able to start a 6-4-3 double play that got Nola and the Phillies out of trouble.
The Cubs added on in the fourth. Kris Bryant led off the inning with a walk. Rizzo also walked, moving Bryant up to second. However, Bryant noticed that no one was covering third base, as a result of the defensive shift on for Rizzo, and took the extra bag. Contreras followed with a single to left field to score Bryant and give the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Kyle Schwarber grounded out to first base. Rizzo and Contreras moved up to third and second, respectively, on the play. Baez hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Rizzo and move Contreras up to third base. Almora was intentionally walked to bring pitcher Jose Quintana to the plate. Almora stole second base during Quintana's at-bat, but it didn't end up making a difference, as Quintana was retired on a groundout to the pitcher.
The Phillies tied it up in the top of the sixth. Cesar Hernandez got it started with a leadoff walk. Two outs later, Carlos Santana reached on an infield single. It was at this point that the Cubs opted to remove Quintana in favor of reliever Steve Cishek. That decision backfired in a big way. Aaron Altherr smacked the first pitch he saw from Cishek over the wall in center field. The three-run bomb was Altherr's sixth of the season. Dylan Cozens, who had come into the game as a replacement for the injured Williams in the fifth, struck out for the final out of the frame.
The Phils took the lead in the top of the ninth inning. Altherr led off the inning with a single to center. Cozens followed with his first Major League home-run, a shot into the baskets above the left field wall. One out later, Jorge Alfaro was hit by a pitch. Pitcher Seranthony Dominguez then came to the plate and ended up working out a walk. The Cubs made a pitching change, deciding to bring in Cory Mazzoni. This pitching change would end up working out for them, as Mazzoni was able to retire the next two Phillies hitters on a strikeout and a flyout to end the inning.
The Cubs refused to go down without a fight and won the game in the bottom of the ninth. Dominguez started the inning by walking Schwarber. One out later, Schwarber advanced to second on a throwing error by Alfaro. Schwarber moved up to third base on a single to center field by Almora. After pinch-hitter Ian Happ was announced, the Phillies opted to remove Dominguez in favor of lefty Adam Morgan. Happ walked to load the bases. Ben Zobrist grounded into a force out, in which Morgan threw out Schwarber at the plate. The Phils had two outs and it seemed like they could get out of the jam and hang on to secure the victory. Jason Heyward had other plans. He hit a grand slam over the wall in right-center field to hand the Cubs the win.
- Aaron Altherr: 2-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, .192 AVG
- Dylan Cozens: 1-2, R, HR, 2 RBI, .333 AVG
- Odubel Herrera: 2-5, .306 AVG
- Jason Heyward: 1-5, R, HR, 4 RBI, .261 AVG
- Anthony Rizzo: 1-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, .251 AVG
- Wilson Contreras: 2-3, 2B, RBI, .277 AVG
- Tommy Hunter (7th): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR, 4.20 ERA
- Seranthony Dominguez (8th, 9th): 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 1.13 ERA
- Adam Morgan (9th): 0.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO, 1 HR, 3.45 ERA
- Steve Cishek (6th, 7th): 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR, 1.98 ERA
- Justin Wilson (8th): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 2.55 ERA
- Brandon Morrow (9th): 0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 HR, 1.74 ERA
- Cory Mazzoni (9th): 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- Thursday, June 7, 2018: at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.
- Chicago - Wrigley Field
- RHP Nick Pivetta (4-4, 3.48 ERA) vs. RHP Tyler Chatwood (3-4, 4.02 ERA)
- TV: NBCSP; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680, WSAN AM 1470