Phillies fall 7-2 to Cubs in 3-game sweep
CHICAGO (AP) Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin remains optimistic despite the Phillies' recent slide after a promising start to the season.
Vince Velasquez was knocked out in the fifth inning and Philadelphia lost 7-2 to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, completing a series sweep.
The Phillies (26-24) have dropped seven of nine overall. Less than two weeks ago, they were seven games above .500.
''Every team goes through a lull,'' Mackanin said. ''Every team goes through a hot streak and a cold streak. How you come out of those streaks, especially the cold streak, determines how good of a team you are.
''So I choose to believe we're on the bottom of the roller coaster on our way up, and that's the way I look at it.''
Ben Zobrist hit a three-run homer and John Lackey pitched seven solid innings for major league-leading Chicago, which has won five in a row.
Miguel Montero added a solo homer and drove in two runs as the Cubs (34-14) became the first team this season to get to 20 games over .500.
''I really like that our guys aren't satisfied with just winning a series when you have a chance to sweep,'' manager Joe Maddon said.
Zobrist's two-out drive to right off Velasquez (5-2) made it 5-0 in the third. It extended Zobrist's hitting streak to 15 games and put the Cubs on the way to their sixth series sweep.
''The Cubs have a very good team, probably the best team in baseball right now, and they beat us fair and square,'' Mackanin said.
Tyler Goeddel's solo homer in the seventh was the lone blemish for Lackey (5-2), who gave up four hits and struck out six in his sixth straight quality start.
Velasquez allowed seven runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings in the Phillies' first sweep at Wrigley Field since 1995. He has allowed five homers in his last two starts.
''It's one of those days they put the bat on the ball, it falls into play and you've got to just continue pitching,'' Velasquez said.
The Phillies, second-to-last in in the majors in runs and homers, shook up their lineup.
Tommy Joseph started at first base in place of Ryan Howard even with a right-hander starting and then homered in the ninth off Justin Grimm. Andres Blanco played second and hit third.
But Philadelphia managed five hits while scoring two or fewer runs for the sixth time in nine games.
''Lackey was good, mixed his pitches, he pitched a good ballgame,'' Mackanin said. ''We didn't string any hits together.''
Phillies: OF Cody Asche (oblique) went 2 for 12 in three rehab games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Cubs: CF Dexter Fowler stayed in after sliding awkwardly into C Cameron Rupp's shin guard at home on Anthony Rizzo's RBI single in the first.
The 24-year-old Joseph hit his third homer and went 1 for 4 in place of the struggling Howard. The 2006 NL MVP is hitting .154 with 50 strikeouts after an 0-for-4, two-strikeout game Saturday.
Mackanin said the Phillies want to take a look at Joseph and have him face some right-handers rather than let him ''stagnate on the bench.''
Howard said he hasn't been told about when he will play.
''I haven't heard anything about sitting more against righties,'' Howard said. ''I haven't been called in the office and talked to.''
END OF A STREAK
A miserable weekend for the Phillies included the end of Freddy Galvis' 44-game streak without an error at shortstop. He booted Jason Heyward's grounder in the fifth. Heyward scored on Kris Bryant's single and Velasquez was lifted after Montero's RBI single three batters later made it 7-0.
''I don't know why he got rid of it so quick,'' Mackanin said. ''I thought he could have planted and thrown it over there. But I'm not going to be critical of Freddy Galvis. He's been unbelievable. He's been outstanding.''
Phillies: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (4-3, 3.97 ERA) starts Monday night against Washington RHP Tanner Roark (3-4, 2.71 ERA) to begin an 11-game homestand.
Cubs: RHP Jason Hammel (6-1, 2.17 ERA) faces Dodgers LHP Alex Wood (1-3, 4.03 ERA) on Monday at Wrigley Field.