Phillies beat Cubs 11-5 for series sweep
CHICAGO (AP) All of a sudden, the major league-worst Philadelphia Phillies don't look so awful.
Ryan Howard homered for the second straight day, rookie Aaron Nola got his first win and the Phillies beat the Chicago Cubs 11-5 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
Maikel Franco also went deep as the Phillies (37-63) finished with 17 hits while getting their eighth win in nine games since the All-Star break. Franco and Domonic Brown each drove in three runs a day after Cole Hamels threw no-hitter against the Cubs.
Manager Pete Mackanin was almost as impressed about his team's error-free play and 40 hits - including 21 for extra-bases - in the series as he was about Hamel's 13-strikeout gem on Saturday.
''The whole series was great,'' Mackanin said. ''It's tough to come in here and sweep the Cubs. It's a nice feeling.
''They've got a good team. We just got them at the right time and we're happy about it.''
Nola (1-1) allowed four runs and five hits in 7 2/3 innings in his second career start. The touted prospect also had an RBI single in Philadelphia's three-run fourth.
After he was staked to a big lead, the right-hander retired 11 straight in one stretch.
''Nola made it look easy after the first couple of innings,'' Mackanin said. He was just painting with all his pitches.''
The 22-year-old Nola, the seventh overall selection in the 2014 draft, lost 1-0 to Tampa Bay in his major league debut last Tuesday. But he got plenty of support in this one.
And getting his first win the day after watching Hamels' no-hitter was almost surreal.
''I'm just soaking as much as I can in right now and being a part of this is pretty amazing,'' Nola said. ''(The no-hitter) was hard to follow up.
''When the offensive puts up runs like that, you definitely can go out and attack guys as much as I could,'' he added. ''It worked out for the most part with groundballs and pop-ups.
''The couple of balls I mispitched, they made me pay for.''
Addison Russell and Dexter Fowler homered off Nola, but the Cubs lost for the fourth time in five games.
With the game out of hand, Cubs catcher David Ross pitched a perfect ninth. He then hit a solo homer in the bottom half of the inning.
''The fans really engaged in that,'' Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ''It was a terrible day.
''Give the Phillies credit. They absolutely mangled us hitting wise. We didn't not play up to their standards. They were the much better team for three days.''
Chicago right-hander Jason Hammel was tagged for six runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings in his second outing since he was hampered by left hamstring tightness in a loss to St. Louis on July 8. He dropped to 0-3 with a 4.10 ERA in his last eight starts.
Franco capped Philadelphia's three-run first with a two-run drive to left for his first homer since June 23.
Fowler walked and scored on Kris Bryant's sacrifice fly in the bottom half, and the Cubs added another run in the third on Fowler's ninth homer. But the game quickly got out of hand from there.
Brown hit a two-run triple in the fifth and Howard added a two-run shot in the eighth as Philadelphia opened an 11-2 lead. Howard also belted a three-run drive in the Phillies' 5-0 win on Saturday. He has 18 homers on the year.
NEXT UP FOR HAMELS?
Fresh off baseball's third no-hitter of the season, Hamels is preparing to start for Philadelphia on Thursday.
But the ace left-hander could be on the move after he struck out 13 in the 13th no-hitter in franchise history for the Phillies. He has been mentioned prominently in trade talks ahead of Friday's non-waiver deadline.
Hamels threw a season-high 129 pitches in his first win since May 23, but said Sunday he was feeling good.
''Everything felt more in sync than it had,'' he said. ''I don't feel like I threw as many pitches as I did. That's a good sign. It means I was throwing correctly.''
Chicago's All-Star No. 3 and No. 4 hitters - Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo - continued to struggle at the plate. Both went 0 for 3 on Sunday. Since the All-Star Break, Bryant is 6 for 40 with one homer and 5 RBIs. Rizzo is 6 for 39 with no homers and 3 RBIs.
Phillies: LHP Adam Morgan (1-2, 4.28 ERA) is scheduled to start on Tuesday at Toronto.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-5, 3.66 ERA) takes the mound on Monday night at Wrigley Field against Colorado's Jorge De La Rosa (6-4, 4.62 ERA).