Hoerner's return powers Cubs to blowout win over Phillies
Bill Streicher - USA Today Sports

Hoerner's return powers Cubs to blowout win over Phillies

by - Senior Writer -

PHILADELPHIA - Any time you talk about one team owning another, you could point to the Chicago Cubs (20-24) and what they have done to the Philadelphia Phillies (20-24) lately. Going back to last season, the Cubs won all seven meetings against the Phillies, including a four-game sweep at Citizens Bank Ballpark, where they were again on Friday.

Looking to keep their great play going against the defending NL Champs, the Cubs received a much-needed boost as Nico Hoerner was back from the IL and immediately inserted into the top of the lineup. With Cody Bellinger going on the IL the same day, the return of Nico was crucial as the Cubs finally had their leadoff hitter back.

It is incredible what one player can do for a team, as Hoerner is starting to get the Dexter Fowler Mmntra of you go, we go. Hoerner returned from the IL to deliver a three-hit four-RBI night.

“I think having Nico in the lineup is a game-changer, truly” Marcus Stroman said in postgame. “I think he’s an unbelievable player. He’s dynamic on both sides of the ball, and he kinda just sparks us when he’s in there.”

That was all the offense Marcus Stroman would need as the right-hander tossed his league-leading eighth quality start in the Cub's 10-1 win over the Phillies.

Stroman was far from perfect, but he limited the damage, which is all you can ask for. Coming off his worst start of the season, Stroman was back at it and gave the Cubs six innings of one-run, three-hit ball. He walked two and struck out four as his ERA fell to 3.05.

“I thought Stro was really impressive,” Hoerner said in postgame. “We even left some outs out there as a defense out there today, and he picked us up. Just an outing that our team really needed and just a nice, thorough win top to bottom.”

Opposing him was a left-hander who burst onto the scene last season in Ranger Suarez.

Unlike last season where Suarez was one of the more consistent starters for the Phillies, this season has been a struggle as he currently has an ERA north of 10.

After allowing four runs in two innings, those struggles continued as the Cubs jumped on him early and often. For Stroman, he has had a tendency to get off to slow starts this season, and that was once again the case in the first inning. Stroman allowed a leadoff single to Bryson Scott before a one-out double by Bryce Harper put two runners in scoring position. The lone run against Stroman came on a Nicholas Castellanos sacrifice fly, putting the Phillies up 1-0.

From there, it was all Stroman and the pitching, as he allowed one hit the rest of the way before Julian Merryweather and Nick Burdi finished things off.

Trailing 1-0 in the second, the Cubs used their first of what was a pair of four-run innings to seize control as their offense was off and running early. Singles from Trey Mancini and Yan Gomes led things off while a Christoper Morel walk loaded the bases with no outs. Nick Madrigal then cashed in with a rare RBI hit as his single gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead and proved to be the winning hit.

Hoerner made it five straight men to reach base as his RBI double brought home two more and had the Cubs up 4-1 before Suarez was able to pitch out of further danger.

Across the next three innings, Stroman was as dialed in as he could have been, retiring 10 of the next 12 hitters he faced, but most importantly, keeping the high-powered Phillies offense off the board. Looking to add on in the fight, it was an old friend taking the mound for the Phillies as Erich Uelmen was called on to pitch. The former Cubs farmhand made the major leagues last season and was traded to the Phillies earlier this spring.

What better way to greet your former teammate than by jumping on him early as Seiya Suzuki continued his recent hot streak with a leadoff double? A Miles Mastrobuoni walk followed that, and once again, the Cubs had a pair of men on. Following a double steal, Gomes came through once again as his sacrifice fly put the Cubs in front 5-1.

With an error making things 6-1 and a rare walk to Madrigal keeping the Cubs inning going, it was Hoerner coming through with his second RBI double of the game as the Cubs scored four times for the second time in the ball game and busted the game wide open 8-1.

Considering how Stroman was throwing on the mound, you had to think eight runs would be enough, but maybe not when you look at the state of the Cubs bullpen. You could tell Stroman was running out of gas in the sixth when he walked consecutive batters, but he managed to recover and finished off that inning with a huge lead and put the ball in the hands of the pen.

Although all the Cubs scoring came in two innings, it was two massive innings as the Cubs held that 8-1 lead into the ninth inning. Facing off against another former teammate in Craig Kimbrel, the Cubs were looking to add on as Matt Mervis entered the game in place of Mancini and promptly worked a leadoff walk. Later in the inning, Morel went deep once again as the Cubs lead grew to 10-1.

For Morel, this was his sixth homer in his 12th game as he continues proving that his AAA start was not a fluke.

Looking to close out the final three outs was Burdi, who didn't look good in his season debut. Despite walking a hitter, Burdi also struck out a hitter and got through the ninth inning without allowing a run as the Cubs pushed their winning streak to nine straight against the Phillies and five straight at Citizens Bank.

With 12 hits, there was plenty of production, but Hoerner led the way with three hits and four RBIs.

Suzuki added two hits to raise his average to .293, with Gomes and Madrigal also picking up a pair of hits. Madrigal and Morel added two RBIs as the Cubs offense returned to their winning ways. With just three hits, runs would be hard to come by as Scott, Harper, and Edmundo Sosa had those hits. C

Chicago returns to the field Wednesday afternoon when Jameson Taillon squares off against Philadelphia Ace Aaron Nola.

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