Cubs 5, Phillies 4
Murton raced home on Brett Myers’ bases-loaded wild pitch in the ninth inning Wednesday night, sending the Cubs to a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies and lifting them to the top of the NL Central.
“Some things in the past we got to leave behind us,” said Murton, who had a 39-game stint at Triple-A. “It’s just a great feeling to be around a winning ball club and have a chance to play in October.”
The Cubs, who were 8 1/2 games behind on June 23, finally overcame the Milwaukee Brewers—at least for a day. Chicago’s win, coupled with the Mets’ 8-5 win at Milwaukee, puts the Cubs a percentage point ahead of the Brewers.
“You can’t make too much out of it on the first of August,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “We’ve got a lot of baseball to play. We can’t get caught up in it.”
Murton started the ninth with a sinking liner to left that defensive replacement Jayson Werth dove for but couldn’t hold. Werth had come off the DL earlier in the day and just entered the game.
Murton hustled into second for a leadoff double and made third on Myers’ wild pitch as Ronny Cedeno tried to bunt.
After Cedeno walked, Myers (1-3) also walked Jacque Jones intentionally to load the bases. Jason Kendall struck out, but with a 1-1 count on pinch-hitter Cliff Floyd, Myers unleashed the wild pitch that gave the Cubs the win.
“When I hit the ball I thought there was an opportunity for it to fall in and I just kind of reading the play,” Murton said. “And when I saw it pop loose and he was on the ground, I knew I had a good opportunity to get to second base.”
Werth thought initially he’d hung on.
“I looked in my glove to take the ball out and it wasn’t there,” Werth said.
Myers blamed himself for the loss.
“You can write I stink if you want,” he said. “I feel like that was my best pitch to get Cliff out right there. He didn’t swing at it and it got past Carlos (Ruiz). … Normally, nine times out of ten Carlos blocks that ball. It was a freaky game from the beginning tonight.”
After Jones made a great diving catch to rob Tadahito Iguchi of a hit leading off the ninth, the Phillies still threatened.
Philadelphia dropped into third place, four games behind the Mets in the NL East.
Cubs starter Rich Hill, batting just .108, hit an RBI single in the second to score Kendall, who had doubled, putting the Cubs up 2-1. Derrek Lee opened the third with his second double, but after getting the next two batters, Phils starter Jamie Moyer gave up a two-out RBI single to Cedeno and run-scoring bloop double to Jones that made it 4-1. The 44-year-old lefty threw 38 pitches in the inning.
The Phils rallied against Hill in the fifth as Iguchi blooped a double in front of Jones, Rollins had an RBI single and Ryan Howard delivered with a run-scoring double. When Jones’ throw got past the cutoff man, Howard tried to race to third but was cut down on Lee’s strong throw. And it cost the Phils a run when Rowand followed with his 16th homer to tie the game at 4.
Moyer, who began his career with the Cubs after they chose him in the sixth round of the 1984 draft, lasted five innings and gave up nine hits and four runs.
Hill’s error and wild pitch helped the Phillies score a run in the first, but he escaped a big inning after the first three batters reached. Hill threw wildly past first after fielding leadoff hitter Chris Roberson’s slow grounder for a two-base error, Iguchi singled and Hill hit Rollins to load the bases.
After striking out Howard and Rowand, Hill was nearly out of the inning before uncorking a wild pitch to allow Roberson to score. Burrell walked to reload the bases before Ruiz popped out.
Murton hit a two-out RBI single in the first just past a fully extended Rollins at short to score Lee, who’d doubled.
Moyer made it to the majors with the Cubs in 1986. … Cubs RBI leader Aramis Ramirez was out of starting lineup to rest a sore knee but pinch-hit in the eighth when the Cubs also loaded the bases. … Werth was activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game. He had been out since June 28 with a strained left wrist.