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Murphy's big stick lifts Cubs to 5-2 win over Phillies

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Phillies were one pitch away from escaping an ugly ninth inning Wednesday night.

Then something strange happened.

"All of a sudden," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said, "(Donnie) Murphy became Babe Ruth."

Murphy, a journeyman infielder playing for his fourth major league team, hit a tiebreaking three-run homer, lifting the Chicago Cubs to a 5-2 victory.

And truth be told, he was a little surprised himself.

"Don't get used to that," he advised reporters. "I'm going through a good stretch. I'll take it; anything to help the team win right now."

It was the second homer of the game and third in two nights for Murphy, whose contract was selected from Triple-A Iowa last weekend. The decisive shot came off Justin DeFratus, the third Phillies pitcher. It allowed the Cubs to break a five-game losing streak, and sent the Phillies to the 14th loss in their last 16 games.

Murphy had the second multihomer game of his career. The other came against Minnesota on April 24, 2008, when he was with Oakland. Wednesday also marked the first time he has hit homers in consecutive games.

"He might be leading our team in three-run homers," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "He's always been a guy who's got some pop in his bat. He showed that in Triple-A (where he hit 12 homers in 89 games)."

Pedro Strop (2-1) pitched a scoreless inning in relief for the victory. Kevin Gregg worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 23rd save in 27 opportunities.

With the score tied at 2-2 entering the ninth, Phillies reliever Luis Garcia (0-1) issued a leadoff walk to Wellington Castillo. Castillo stole second as David DeJesus struck out, and Cody Ransom walked.

Phillies catcher Erik Kratz picked Ransom off first, but Cole Gillespie also walked.

DeFratus then replaced Garcia, and Murphy hit a 3-1 fastball into the left field seats.

Chase Utley, employed as a pinch hitter, singled home the tying run in the bottom of the seventh for the Phillies.

Later in the inning, Utley attempted to score by running over catcher Dioner Navarro at the plate after a single by Kevin Frandsen. Navarro, who took a throw from Gillespie in right field, held onto the ball but injured his right ankle in the collision. He was carted off and taken to the hospital for X-rays, which were negative. The injury was described as a contusion, and he is listed as day-to-day.

Earlier in the inning, Chicago left fielder Thomas Neal dislocated his right shoulder and left the game. The Cubs announced afterward that he will be placed on the disabled list.

Phillies starter Cole Hamels, amid the worst year of his career, earned his second straight no-decision despite allowing just two runs and six hits over seven innings. He struck out three and didn't walk a batter.

Hamels has not won since beating Washington on July 9.

Chicago starter Travis Wood pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed two runs and six hits. He struck out seven and walked one.

Domonic Brown hit his 25th homer, a solo shot, on Wood's first pitch of the second. Murphy answered with a solo homer of his own leading off the third, a lazy fly ball that settled just over the right field fence and just inside the foul pole.

Junior Lake gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead with an RBI single in the fifth.

NOTES: Phillies 1B Darin Ruf went 0-for-4 and saw his streak of reaching base end at 33 games. ... Phillies RHP Roy Halladay, recovering from shoulder surgery, said before the game that his rehab is continuing smoothly, and that he hopes to pitch again in the majors "as soon as possible." Halladay threw a 75-ptich simulated game Monday, and had a 30-pitch bullpen session Wednesday. The plan is for him to throw a simulated game, probably Saturday, in Florida. He said there will then be "a group decision" as to how he proceeds from there. ... and reported that the Phillies agreed to a contract extension with Utley. ... Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said 1B Ryan Howard, recovering from knee surgery, continues to rehab in Florida, but there is no timetable as yet for Howard's return.

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