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Phillies pull away late for rout of Cubs

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Late-inning heroics have become habit-forming for the Philadelphia Phillies.

One night after Hunter Pence hit a walk-off homer to beat Houston, the Phillies erupted in the eighth and ninth innings Wednesday night to beat the Chicago Cubs 9-2 at Wrigley Field in the opener of a two-game series.

Carlos Ruiz hit a solo home run in the top of the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie. The home run, Ruiz's seventh of the season, came off of Cubs reliever Shawn Camp. The Phillies added six runs in the ninth inning, which included the first career grand slam by pinch hitter Hector Luna.

The Phillies (19-19) won their fourth game in a row and moved to .500 for the first time since May 3. The Cubs (15-22) dropped their second straight.

The game featured a good pitchers' duel between the Phillies' Kyle Kendrick and the Cubs' Matt Garza. Kendrick, a fill-in starter for injured Vance Worley, made his first start since May 4. He lasted six innings, giving up three hits and two runs, one earned.

"Pitching's pitching," Kendrick said. "The roles can be tough sometimes. But once you're out there, pitching's pitching."

Kendrick instead praised batterymate Ruiz's offense.

"He's hot right now," the pitcher said. "That's all you can say. Don't want to talk too much about it, want to keep it going. But he's seeing the ball well right now."

Garza worked 6 2/3 innings, giving up eight hits and two runs.

"Our starter pitched a heck of a game again," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Just couldn't get the lead. He had great command of his fastball. He was able to pitch inside really well."

The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Ruiz led off with a single and scored two outs later on a double to right field by Freddy Galvis.

Alfonso Soriano's second home run of the season and second in two days put the Cubs ahead 2-1 in the fifth. Bryan LaHair reached second base with one out as left fielder Juan Pierre dropped his flyball for an error. Soriano then connected on a line shot into the left field bleachers.

The Phillies tied the game in the fifth. Kendrick led off with a single down the right field line. After Jimmy Rollins popped out, Pierre doubled down the left field line, with Kendrick stopping at third base. Shane Victorino then beat out a grounder to second base on a close play for an RBI single.

Garza worked out of further trouble by getting an inning-ending double play from Pence.

The Phillies chased Garza in the seventh. Pinch hitter Mike Fontenot singled with one out. After Jimmy Rollins flied out, Sveum replaced Garza with lefty James Russell, who walked pinch hitter Ty Wigginton before striking out Victorino.

"When you throw 100 pitches, 107 pitches, before (the end) of the seventh, it's not a tough decision for the skip," said Garza, who was making his second start after missing time with a nasty, flu-like bug. "Twelve days off, man. It was a pain. It wasn't like it was a vacation. It was 12 days off fighting whatever the heck it was."

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel went to setup men Jose Contreras and Antonio Bastardo, who worked 1-2-3 innings in the seventh and eighth, respectively, before Raul Valdes finished up in the ninth.

The Phillies scored their six runs in the ninth off Chicago relievers Scott Maine and Michael Bowden. Luna's grand slam came against Bowden.

"The fact of the matter is we have guys pitching in roles they probably shouldn't be pitching in," Sveum said. "It's tough. They've never had to do this before, and they're throwing into this mix all of a sudden. It's not the easiest thing to do."

NOTES: Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco left the game in the seventh inning due to a left knee contusion. ... The Cubs placed right-handed reliever Lendy Castillo on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 12, with a strained left groin. They recalled left-handed reliever Scott Maine from Triple-A Iowa. Manager Dale Sveum said Castillo began feeling sore over the weekend and Milwaukee and that the ailment got worse Monday and Tuesday in St. Louis. Castillo was a Rule 5 draft pick from the Phillies, and he must remain on the Cubs' big league roster all season or they risk losing him. In seven appearances, he was 0-1 with a 7.04 ERA ... Cubs backup catcher Steve Clevenger said he took 15 swings off a tee and 15 more soft-toss swings as he recovers from a strained right oblique. He has been on the DL since April 28, retroactive to April 26. He is targeting a May 25 return to the Cubs but he may head out on a minor league rehab assignment first ... The Phillies placed Worley on the 15-day DL, retroactive to May 12, with right-elbow inflammation. They recalled left-hander Joe Slavery from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The Phillies say there is no structural damage to Worley's elbow. "I never really knew how serious it was until (Tuesday)," Manuel said. "They did the MRI today, and I think they'll know more about that (once the MRI is read) and can pretty much tell you how long it will take." ... Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley (knee) took groundballs during batting practice. He has not played this year because of chronic knee pain.
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