To challenge or not to challenge. That was the question for Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg in Saturday's 2-0 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
The Phillies had a chance to blow the game open in the fourth inning, when they scored 1 to take their 2-0 lead. Wil Nieves grounded into a 5-3 double play to end the inning, but it looked like Cubs third baseman Mike Olt missed the bag with his foot.
The Phillies made nothing of it initially, but Sandberg did visit third-base umpire Hal Gibson as his team was warming up to begin the bottom of the inning. In the end, Sandberg went back to the dugout and did not challenge.
"Yeah, but there was some inconclusiveness on our end," he said. "It was a little awkward so late with our guys warming up there. By the time I got out there, our whole team is out there and Cliff (pitcher Lee) is warming up. It was an awkward moment. It was somewhat inconclusive.
"I was pondering if I was going to challenge it or not."
Olt said he thought he got the bag, but he did wear a sheepish grin in the Cubs clubhouse.
"It was too close for comfort, but I definitely thought I hit it," he said. "I got lucky."
Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija gave up a home run to Phillies second baseman Chase Utley with two outs and nobody on in the first inning. Utley, one of the most underrated stars in the game, is 10-for-21 (.476) to start the season.
"He's right on the dish," Samardzija said of how close Utley stands to the plate. "He has a short swing, and he loves the ball in."
Utley returned compliments from the Phillies clubhouse.
"Samardzija's tough," he said. "Over the last few years, he's really improved his command. He mixes his pitches better. We tried to get to him early. That was our goal."
Cubs manager Rick Renteria confirmed that right-hander Carlos Villanueva, who pitched twice in relief in Pittsburgh, would start Sunday's finale.
Villanueva is a veteran swing man, and he maintained from the get-go he would be ready.
Kris Bryant, the Cubs' first-round draft choice (second overall) last year, hit his second home run in two days for Class AA Tennessee on Friday. ... Relief pitcher Alberto Cabrera cleared waivers and assigned outright to Class AAA Iowa. The Cubs designed Cabrera for assignment at the end of spring training. ...
Outfield prospect Jorge Soler has gone on Tennessee's seven-day disabled list with a left-hamstring injury suffered in his only at-bat in Thursday's opener. ... Onetime Cubs pitcher Casey Coleman has been transferred from Iowa's roster to their Class A Boise roster. That effectively ends Coleman's tenure in the organization as Boise does not begin play until June 13. Coleman will try to hook on with another organization, but he will go to Arizona to begin working out.