The Chicago Cubs (44-24) have seen much better work from their bullpen of late, but that trend did not hold true Monday night against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The home team broke the game wide open late to earn an easy victory, via MLB The Show 20.
Former Cub Jake Arrieta struggled in the top of the 1st, loading the bases on two singles and a walk. Jason Heyward coaxed another free pass to force in the first run of the day and Kris Bryant launched a solo homer in the top of the 2nd to stake his team to a 2-0 edge.
Alec Mills ran into trouble in the bottom of the 3rd inning after back-to-back singles, including one from Arrieta, put two on with none out. Andrew McCutchen split the left-center field gap with a two-run double to tie the score and Bryce Harper followed with a single to right to put Philadelphia ahead 3-2.
Mills helped his own cause with a double that put runners on second and third with two out. Bryant came through again with a bloop single to center that scored both runners and gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead.
The Phillies loaded the bases with no one out in the 5th inning and Didi Gregorius grounded to Anthony Rizzo, who fired home to force the runner at the plate. J.T. Realmuto had better luck and his sacrifice fly to left field tied the score again. Jay Bruce‘s dribbler to third looked like it could end the threat, but Bryant dropped it for an error and Scott Kingery followed with the go-ahead two-run single to give the home team a 6-4 advantage.
Kyle Schwarber cut the deficit to 6-5 with a run-scoring hit off of Adam Morgan in the 7th. That was as close as things got, though, because the Phillies exploded in the bottom of the frame. Brad Wieck allowed back-to-back jacks to Realmuto and Bruce, then Jeremy Jeffress was the victim of McCutchen’s second two-run double of the game. By the time Danny Hultzen surrendered a run-scoring single to Harper, it was 11-5 Philadelphia.
Notes: Bryant continues to put up MVP caliber numbers at the plate, but he told reporters his defense has to be better: “I have to make that play (on Bruce), no excuses.”
Bryant – 3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI
Schwarber – 1-for-4, BB, RBI
Mills – 1-for-2, 2B
McCutchen – 3-for-4, 2 2B, 4 RBI
Realmuto – 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
Bruce – 1-for-3, 2 BB, HR, RBI
Winning Pitcher – Arrieta (3-5)
Losing Pitcher – Mills (3-2)
Save – None
Home Runs – Bryant (23), Bruce (13), Realmuto (7)