Four-run sixth boosts Cubs in come-from-behind win


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Willson Contreras roped a pinch-hit double in the sixth frame that ultimately won the game for the Cubs.
Willson Contreras roped a pinch-hit double in the sixth frame that ultimately won the game for the Cubs.

CHICAGO -- The "Cardiac" Chicago Cubs have gotten rather used to having to earn victories of the comeback variety through the first month of the season. Fitting with that theme, tonight, thanks to a four-run sixth inning, the Cubs were able to overcome an early 3-1 deficit to top the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 at home. Jake Arrieta got the nod on the rubber for the Cubs and allowed three runs in six innings pitched, faring better as the game progressed, but the Cubs' hitters were able to shed off his shaky outing with a quality late-inning performance.

For the third consecutive start, Arrieta faltered on the mound, continuing the strange trend of Cubs starters experiencing their most significant troubles in the early innings. Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco incited the offensive action for Philly with an RBI single in the opening inning, which was followed by an RBI double off the bat of center fielder Odubel Herrera that put the Phillies up 2-0.

Arrieta's opponent, on the other hand, was marvelous early on, as Philadelphia starter Jerad Eickhoff was dominant on the hill. Interestingly enough, Arrieta, a rather adept hitter for a pitcher, was credited with driving in the only run given up by Eickhoff in the early going. In the second inning, following a walk of right fielder Jason Heyward, Cubs catcher Miguel Montero singled to place runners on the corners. Thereafter, an RBI grounder by Arrieta brought Heyward in to score. Arrieta was effective in the defensive aspect of the game, too, picking a runner off at first with an impressive throw in the third. It took a Cubs challenge for the pickoff to be validated, but it was superb nonetheless.

Arrieta's pitching troubles recommenced in the next inning. Franco, who went 3-4 with two runs scored on the night, neutralized Arrieta's RBI by scoring a run of his own. He led off with a single and was then advanced to third on a double to deep right by first baseman Brock Stassi. Next, a sacrifice fly by shortstop Freddy Galvis scored Franco, increasing the Phillies' lead to 3-1.

The Cubs took advantage of Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin opting to leave the young Eickhoff in the game a little too long, as Eickhoff gave up a run that set off a very lucrative inning for the Cubs. Two one-out singles placed a Cubs runner in scoring position with Eickhoff nearing the 100-pitch mark. He outed the next batter but was then victimized by Heyward on an RBI single to left. Heyward is off to a hot start this season and already has 17 RBI to his name.

Joely Rodriguez entered the game in relief of Eickhoff and quickly allowed a two-run double to take place, as Willson Contreras, who was pinch-hitting for Montero, smacked a double to deep left that plated both runners and gave the Cubs their first lead of the game at 4-3. Another pitching change took place soon after, but it proved to be ineffective for the Phillies, as well, with pinch hitter Matt Szczur hitting an infield single that scored Contreras and increased the Cubs' lead to 5-3.

The Cubs had an opportunity to up their lead further in the seventh with runners on first and second and no outs, but the succeeding two batters failed to hit the ball out of the infield. The Phillies capitalized off of that in the eighth, as Franco continued his solid night with an RBI single off of Cubs reliever Hector Rondon that scored Phillies right fielder Aaron Alther, who had just hit a two-out double himself.

Chicago was able to hold onto that 5-4 lead, though, as closer Wade Davis accrued his seventh save of 2017 by shutting down the Phillies in the ninth. Davis did allow the potential tying runner to take second on a wild pitch, but he came through in the clutch by forcing the next two batters into outs to end the game.

The Cubs' batting order spread the wealth tonight, with nine hits total and only one batter, third baseman Kris Bryant, accruing more than one. Contreras's key RBI double proved to the difference-maker in the come-from-behind win, as the Cubs won and moved to 15-12 overall. The Phillies, meanwhile, dropped their second straight game in this four-game series and fell to 12-14. Despite the quality performance early on, Eickhoff was handed the loss, while Arrieta earned the win, in spite of his early troubles. Jake now sports a 4-1 record against the Phillies since September of 2013.

The Cubs will be looking to earn an outright series win tomorrow afternoon as veteran John Lackey of Chicago squares off against second-year Zach Eflin on the Phillies on the bump. The first pitch is slated for 1:20 PM CST at Wrigley Field.





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