Phillies open crucial road trip with another loss to Cubs




 

Phillies open crucial road trip with another loss to Cubs originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

CHICAGO - And so the Phillies' problems against the Chicago Cubs continue.

The Phillies lost for the fourth time this season in as many meetings with the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night.

The Cubs pushed across the go-ahead run against reliever Connor Brogdon with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat the Phils, 2-1.

Ian Happ scored the run on a double by Yan Gomes. Happ had led off the frame with a ground ball base hit through a Phillies' shift.

The loss was the Phillies' third in a row as they began a crucial 10-game road trip that will determine whether they make the postseason or not.

The Phillies entered the night leading Milwaukee by 1 ½ games for the final NL wild-card spot. The Brewers were losing in St. Louis. A Milwaukee loss would reduce the Phillies' magic number to seven. So even though the Phils began their trip with a loss, it was possible to gain some ground.

In his second start since coming off the injured list, Zack Wheeler pitched six innings of one-run ball and left with the score tied at 1-1. The only run Wheeler allowed came on a solo homer by Christopher Morel in the third inning.

The Phillies tied the game at 1-1 on a two-out double by Bryce Harper in the sixth.

Marcus Stroman pitched seven innings of one-run ball for the Cubs and struck out six.

Wheeler's economy of pitches was excellent. He threw just 62, only four more than he threw in his previous start and well short of the 75 that manager Rob Thomson was targeting.

Wheeler appeared to tire in the sixth inning. He issued his only walk with one out then gave up a single off the right-field wall to Esteban Quiroz, putting runners on the corners. Someone quicker than Quiroz might have stretched it into a double. With the double play still in order, Wheeler got a big one with Willson Contreras at the plate to end the inning and keep the score tied at 1-1.

Thomson went to Brogdon in the bottom of the seventh inning and the right-hander was quickly burned by an infield shift as he gave up a leadoff hit to Happ on a ground ball through the shortstop hole.

Happ moved to second on a one-out ground ball and scored the go-ahead run on a double to right by Gomes.

Nick Castellanos was activated from the injured list before the game. He started in right field for the first time since September 2 when he went down with an oblique injury. He had a base hit and an outfield assist.

The Cubs swept the Phillies in July at Citizens Bank Park.

(More coming.)

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