Rookie rips, robs, trips as Cubs take twin bill

Rookie rips, robs, trips as Cubs take twin bill

PHILADELPHIA -- Rookie Kyle Schwarber needed just two pitches to hit two home runs, both monster shots, and Kris Bryant drove in three runs, including two on his 24th homer, to power the Cubs to a 7-3 victory Friday and complete a sweep of a doubleheader against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Bryant's blast, a two-run shot in the fifth, and his RBI single in the seventh raised his season RBI total to 90, a Cubs rookie record and tops on the team. He broke the mark in the first game with an RBI double. Bryant now is tied with the Dodgers' Joc Pederson for the most homers among Major League rookies. Schwarber, meanwhile, connected on Nos. 14 and 15, the latter of which included a face plant rounding first while circling the bases.

Schwarber takes spill on home run trot

The Cubs' three home runs all came off the Phillies' Alec Asher, who remains winless in three starts. Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks benefited from the power and notched his first win since Aug. 8.

"Schwarber is a monster, boy," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's got a real strong, quick swing. You can't leave the ball out over the plate to him."

Chicago won the first game, 5-1, behind Jake Arrieta, who picked up his Major League-leading 19th win. With the sweep, the Cubs moved within two games of the Pirates for the top National League Wild Card spot.

"The consensus here is everybody's thinking about October," Hendricks said. "We're that close. We can smell it. With that lead, you never can take anything for granted. We're in a good spot."

Rondon closes the door

Kid stuff: On Wednesday against the Cardinals, Schwarber struck out four times, but it was his first start after missing six games with sore ribs. On Friday, the rookie made up for missed time with his third career multi-homer game, which is impressive since his career is only 51 games. With one out in the first, Schwarber launched the first pitch he saw from Asher, a 91-mph fastball, onto the concourse in center field. The blast was projected by Statcast™ to have traveled 448 feet. With two outs and one on in the second, Schwarber again connected on the first pitch he saw from Asher, this time a slider. He then walked in the fifth and scored on Chris Coghlan's double.

"He crushes them," Bryant said of Schwarber. "It's fun watching him." More >

Schwarber's deep solo home run

Penmanship: Pedro Strop, who was roughed up in two outings in St. Louis, was called on with two outs and one on in the seventh, and got Cody Asche to fly out to end the inning. It was only one batter, but the Cubs need to get Strop back on track as he is considered the prime right-handed setup pitcher

Asher's struggles continue: Asher has not found the big leagues to be kind since the Phillies promoted him from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He is 0-3 with a 10.67 ERA in his first three big league starts. He allowed seven hits, six runs, three walks and three home runs in just five innings against the Cubs.

"I'm concerned about it," Mackanin said. "We knew he was going to take his lumps. Everybody is really happy when they get here. They come with confidence because they've had success in the Minor Leagues. After a few poor outings, they learn quick that, 'This is a better league than I was in. I can't make many mistakes. I've got to regroup.'"

Howard snaps skid: Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard doubled to right-center field in the seventh inning to snap an 0-for-35 slump. It was the longest slump by a Phillies hitter since Raul Ibanez went 0-for-35 in 2011. No Phillies non-pitcher had gone longer without a hit since Desi Relaford went 0-for-36 in 1998. Brett Myers went 0-for-40 from 2006-08.

"[Ibanez], pretty good hitter, so it happens to the best of them," Mackanin said. "It was nice to see Howie break out, so that probably took a little pressure off. You know how hot he can get. We're just hoping he can get hot again." More >

Howard snaps slump

"We love Joe Maddon."
-- Chants during the second game by kids from the Hazleton Integration Project, which Maddon developed in his hometown of Hazleton, Pa. There were two busloads of children at the game as his guests, as well as friends and family, including Maddon's mother, Beanie

With Bryant and Schwarber's blasts, Cubs rookies have combined to hit 60 home runs, a record for the team's rookie class. The previous high was 58 set in 1966 by Randy Hundley (19 homers), Byron Browne (16), Adolfo Phillips (16), John Boccabella (six) and Fergie Jenkins (one). Schwarber also is the first Cubs player since 1914 to record at least three multi-homer games in his first 51 career big league games.

Statcast: Bryant bashes homer

The Cubs' 82 victories are their most since going 83-78 in 2009.

Cubs: Dan Haren will start the third of a four-game series against the Phillies on Saturday. The right-hander is coming off his best outing since joining the Cubs when he scattered seven hits over seven scoreless innings on Monday against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. This will be his fourth start against the Phillies this season and third at Citizens Bank Park; he's 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA so far. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT.

Phillies: Rookie Jerad Eickhoff will make his fourth big league start Saturday at 7:05 ET. He allowed six runs in just four innings last weekend against the Red Sox at Wrigley Field, but he allowed 15 hits and six earned runs in 19 innings in his first three starts.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.