Cubs celebrate after Velazquez's homer (Eric Hartline - USA Today Sports)
Cubs celebrate after Velazquez's homer (Eric Hartline - USA Today Sports)

Cubs sweep Phillies on the road for first time since 2000


by - Senior Writer -

PHILADELPHIA - It has been long time since the Chicago Cubs (38-57) could say they swept anyone. It has been longer since they could say they swept the Philadelphia Phillies (49-46) in Philadelphia. It was 22 years, to be exact, since the Cubs managed to sweep the Phillies in the City of Brotherly Love, but that came to an end this weekend at Citizens Bank Ballpark.

Considering the injuries and the state the Cubs rotation is in, Drew Smyly may be the best and only option available to dangle for a trade. However, if he gives the Cubs one more outing as he did on Sunday, maybe they can get something for him. The left-hander gave the Cubs six strong innings allowing two runs (one earned), allowing four hits, and striking out four as he played a considerable role in the Cubs 4-3 win to cap off the sweep.

His ERA is now sitting at 3.93 for the season as he has been one of the more consistent arms for the Cubs all season. Opposing him was the fellow southpaw Bailey Falter as he fell to 0-3 on the season. Across the first two innings, Falter matched Smyly's pitch for pitch as neither team could put a runner on base.

It was in the third when the first run came across when Yan Gomes connected for his fourth homer to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. A one-out walk from Nelson Velazquez and a Christopher Morel double saw the Cubs double their lead as the offense started to click. Nico Hoerner was hit by a pitch after that double, followed by a Patrick Wisdom walk to load the bases with only one out.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, they could not get more than those two runs as the Cubs were hoping it wouldn't come back and haunt them later on. The Cubs continued to keep the pressure on Falter in the fourth, with Gomes going deep for the second time in as many at-bats with Velazquez adding a solo shot later in the inning to extend the lead to 4-0.

It may have taken the Phillies five innings to put a baserunner on base against Smyly, but once that first guy reached the first run followed. With two down in the fourth, Bryson Scott kept the inning alive with a double before coming home on the Alec Bohm single to make things 4-1.

Garrett Stubbs would then play a huge role across the final four innings as he led the sixth inning off with a single before standing in scoring position with two down. That was when Rhys Hoskins continued the comeback bid as his RBI single cut the deficit in half, with the Cubs still leading 4-2. Smyly would finish that inning without further damage as it was up to the pen for the remainder of the game.

Scott Effross was the first out of the pen, and despite allowing a pair of seventh-inning singles, he managed to push through unharmed as a huge double play killed a potential huge rally. Chris Martin was called on to pitch the seventh, and he couldn't have asked for a worse start to his outing.

It took three pitches from Martin to pull the Phillies within 4-3 as Stubbs crushed the Martin fastball over the fence for a solo shot. With two outs in the inning, Martin would allow a single to Hoskins, but wouldn't allow another run as the Cubs remained in front 4-3.

Had it not been for the Velazquez single in the ninth, the Cubs would have gone four innings without putting any pressure on the Phillies pen, but now it was up to David Robertson to slam the door. For as good as Robertson has been this season, he has been shaky in his recent outings, which happened again on Sunday.

After allowing a one-out walk to Scott, Bohm picked up a single as the Phillies had two runners on with the tying run at second. That didn't bother Robertson as he saved his best stuff for the final two hitters and finished off the Phillies to record his 14th save of the season. Not only that, but his 1.83 ERA has a lot of teams calling the Cubs about his availability as he could be one of the Cubs dealt by August 2. Gomes was one of three hitters to record two hits, joining Morel and Velazquez. Ian Happ picked up the final hit for the Cubs.

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