Chicago Cubs power their way past Phillies 8-4
The Cole vs. Cole matchup was the talk before the Chicago Cubs played the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
However, a rare warm and windy night turned the offenses into Cole-burning machines.
That was especially true of the Cubs, who rocked rookie left-hander Cole Irvin for 7 runs in 4⅔ innings, including a booming home run off Budweiser sign atop the right-field videoboard and the first career grand slam by Albert Almora Jr.
When the baseballs had settled, the Cubs emerged with an 8-4 victory.
The Cubs' own lefty, Cole Hamels, managed to survive somewhat less scorched. He gave up 9 hits and 3 runs over 4, throwing 99 pitches. He was bailed out by resurgent right-hander Tyler Chatwood, who pitched 4-plus innings of 3-hit, 1-run relief to improve to 3-0 with a 2.86 ERA.
"It was really all about Chatwood," said Cubs manager Joe Maddon, whose team improved to 29-18. "Chatwood really made that game possible. That was a West Texas baseball game staring you in the face."
For those who like fun trivia, Irvin made his major-league debut on May 12, exactly 13 years to the day that Hamels made his big-league debut for the Phillies.
Hamels was facing the Phillies for the first time in his career. He pitched a no-hitter against the Cubs at Wrigley in 2015 before being traded to Texas. He said it was not weird facing the Phils.
"Not necessarily, just because it's been so long and the team has kind of changed over," he said. "I think last year, the first time going there, was probably more so just because I was just getting back into the swing of things."
This was a tough night to pitch, with a gametime temperature of 80 degrees and a breeze howling out of the south at 18 mph. Contrast that with the previous two nights, when the gametime temp was 50 with winds blowing in from the east and northeast.
The first inning was a battle for Hamels, who gave up only 1 run but threw 33 pitches. The Phillies got 2 more in the third on 4 hits.
Rizzo tied the score in loud fashion in the bottom of the inning. Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant singled. Rizzo then crushed one to the videoboard, a 3-run homer that was measured at 437 feet. It was reminiscent of Schwarber's blast to the top of the board in the 2015 division series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Almora's grand slam went to straightaway center in the fifth. Javier Baez, returning to the starting lineup after his walk-off single as a pinch hitter Tuesday, also homered to center, in the seventh. Almora took a curtain call after his blast.
"It's the things you dream about as a kid," he said. "That curtain call went by so quick. I wish I could enjoy it a little bit more, but it's something I'll never forget."