Baez makes history as Cubs tally seven extra-base hits in beatdown of Phillies
|Sunday, September 2, 2018, 5:34 PM- -|
PHILADELPHIA — With three triples and three home runs, the Chicago Cubs (81-55) made quite a statement at the plate in a rout of the Philadelphia Phillies (72-64) to finish off a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday afternoon. Winning the rubber match with the Phillies rather emphatically, Chicago compiled a total of seven extra-base hits and trounced Philadelphia by a final score of 8-1. Going 2-5 with two runs scored and one RBI in his 500th career game, Cubs middle infielder Javier Baez led the charge for his team and joined a fairly prestigious club in the process.
Despite getting handily beaten, the Phillies actually had a chance to strike first. However, a risky base-running choice by Phillies leadoff man Roman Quinn culminated in him wasting an extra-base hit to start the game. In the first at-bat of the contest, Quinn lined a shot to deep left field that he attempted to stretch into a triple. Quinn was gunned down at third base on a laser throw from Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber, who leads the National League with 11 assists, and the Phillies ultimately came up empty-handed in the opening frame.
The Cubs' first two hits of the ballgame were both solo home runs. In the top of the third, second baseman Daniel Murphy pulled a high fastball out beyond right field for his ninth homer of the year. Then, in the fourth, first baseman Anthony Rizzo got underneath a changeup and powered it just over the wall in right-center for his 23rd dinger of the season.
Entering Sunday's start having given up just eight round-trippers in his previous 27 starts, Phillies ace Aaron Nola was taken for three homers in a 5.2-inning losing outing against the Cubs. Dropping to 15-4 overall, Nola fared well when not giving up solo jacks. Striking out 11 and getting taken for just two hits of the non-homer variety, Nola even received a standing ovation from the home crowd upon exiting the game.
Unfortunately for Nola, he was shown up by fellow National League Cy Young candidate Jon Lester, as the Cubs' star left-hander threw six scoreless innings and struck out seven en route to collecting the winning decision and improving to 15-5 overall. Lester was handed some breathing room in the top of the sixth, when the Cubs scored two runs to go up 4-0.
Baez put the Cubs ahead by three runs with a 420-foot moonshot to left-center that sported a launch angle of 31 degrees. The dinger provided Baez with his 30th home run and 100th RBI of the season, making him a member of the vaunted 30-100 club for the first time in his career. Furthermore, Baez became the first Cubs second baseman to accrue 100 RBI in a single season since Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg did so in 1991.
Later in the top half of the sixth, Schwarber garnered his second triple in as many games on a screamer down the right-field line. Cruising into third base after Phillies right fielder Jose Bautista misjudged the hit, Schwarber attained his third three-bagger of the year and scored Rizzo to give Chicago a 4-0 lead. Rizzo, who went 2-2 with two walks, scored three runs on the day.
Rizzo also amassed a couple of RBI. One of them came on his solo blast, of course, and the other came on an RBI single in the eighth inning that brought home Baez as part of a four-run frame for the North Siders. Baez led off with a triple to left and was scored soon afterward. With one out and the bases loaded, Cubs outfielder Ian Happ came through with a two-run double. Happ also tripled off the top of the wall in left-center in the seventh inning of what served as his first multi-hit performance since the All-Star break.
To cap off the scoring barrage for the Cubs, Albert Almora Jr. hit a sacrifice fly that plated Willson Contreras and provided Chicago with an 8-0 advantage. The Fightin' Phils went on to score a meaningless run on a Jorge Alfaro double in the ninth to avoid getting shut out, but they lost 8-1 and dropped the season series to the Cubs by a margin of 4-2, anyway. Surprisingly, the Cubs attained fewer hits than the Phillies on the afternoon, but their adept hitting with men on base led to the Cubbies winning for the ninth time in their last 11 outings.