By John Jackson and Jeff Arnold
Special to MLB.com |
CHICAGO -- According to the cliché, a double play is a pitcher's best friend. Vince Velasquez would beg to differ. A big early lead -- which the Phillies provided on Monday night -- was just what the right-hander needed to thrive at rainy and windy Wrigley Field.
The Phillies broke through for seven runs in the first two innings after waiting out a rain delay of an hour and 25 minutes, and cruised to a 10-2 victory over the Cubs.
Velasquez (2-2) made the early advantage stand up, allowing one run on two hits in five innings.
"It was awesome," Velasquez said. "We came out with a bang offensively and right off the bat, seven runs. That's comforting, but a pitcher still has to go out there and pitch. I wanted to go more [innings], but this team battles a lot -- I've just got to make my pitches and put them away a little earlier."
Tommy Joseph busted out of a slump with a three-run home run and Aaron Altherr drove in three runs with a pair of doubles, helping the Phillies snap a three-game losing streak. Michael Saunders hit a solo homer and Freddy Galvis added a two-run shot as the Phillies pounded out 12 hits.
Cubs starter Brett Anderson (2-1) didn't fare nearly as well, surrendering seven runs in 1 1/3 innings. The Cubs now have dropped four of five games.
"There were no positives to gain from this outing," Anderson said. "I have five starts, and I'm averaging three or four innings a start, which is embarrassing from my perspective. Hopefully going forward I can pitch better and give us a chance."
Javier Baez, starting at shortstop, hit a solo homer, and pinch-hitter Matt Szczur added a sacrifice fly for the Cubs' runs.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Joseph breaks out: Despite a rough beginning, Anderson had a chance to strand two runners and escape the first inning with just one run scored. He ran the count to 2-2 against the struggling Joseph (he entered batting .179 with one homer) and had to make one more quality pitch. Catcher Willson Contreras set up on the outside corner, but Anderson's 91-mph fastball drifted out over the plate, and Joseph smacked a line drive into the left-field bleachers for a three-run shot and a 4-0 Phillies lead.
"That was the biggest pitch of the game," Anderson said. "I was trying to throw a sinker down and away. Left it middle, up. It was one of the few pitches he could drive regardless of the conditions, and it went right into his barrel, and the rest is history." More >
Trouble no more: Just like they did a year ago, the Cubs have made a habit of late comebacks. But any hopes of that type of drama playing out on Monday were probably dashed in the fourth inning. After loading the bases with two out on two walks and a hit-by-pitch, Velasquez struck out Contreras with a high inside fastball to end the threat and maintain the Phillies' 7-0 lead at the time.
"Walking [Kris] Bryant and [Jason] Heyward gave everybody a little bit of a scare, but I kind of muscled up and got myself out of a jam," Velasquez said. "That's one of the situations where you have to bear down; you've got to really concentrate and get yourself out of the jam. I put myself in it, and so I had to get myself out of it."
"I still see him as adjusting to being here. As he settles in, he's going to pitch really well. When he gets his feet on the ground, heads up. He's going to really take off." -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon, on Anderson
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Friendly Confines have not been so friendly to Anderson so far. In three Wrigley Field starts this season, he has allowed 13 runs on 18 hits in 10 innings, for an ERA of 11.70. That includes five scoreless innings against the Dodgers in his first home start. In the last two, he has allowed 13 runs on 15 hits in five innings, for an ERA of 23.40. In two road starts, Anderson has a 1.54 ERA (two runs in 11 2/3 innings).
WHAT'S NEXT Phillies:Jeremy Hellickson (4-0, 1.80 ERA) will be looking for his fourth victory in his last four starts on Tuesday night at 8:05 ET. He has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his five starts this season and has worked seven innings in two of his last three.
Cubs: Left-hander Jon Lester (0-1, 3.68 ERA) is still looking for his first win of the season. He allowed six runs and 10 hits in his previous outing, against the Pirates on April 26, and he has allowed at least five earned runs in consecutive starts for the first time since last July. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. CT.
John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the Cubs on Monday.
Jeff Arnold is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the Phillies on Monday.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.