CHICAGO - Yes, the rumors are true. The Phillies are indeed capable of scoring runs.
During a dismal weekend in San Francisco, the Phils became the first team in MLB history to score just one run in a three-game series with that lone run coming on a homer from the pitcher.
After a much-needed day off Monday, the lineup finally got back on track against a very good Cubs right-hander. The Phillies scored five times in the first three innings to give Zach Eflin plenty of support in a stress-free, 6-1 win Tuesday.
The five runs scored off Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks were the most he's allowed in his last 28 starts.
The victory makes the Phils 32-26 on the season and 3-5 on this 10-game road trip.
Seven zeroes from Zach
Eflin rebounded from three straight poor starts and had a shutout through 7⅔ innings before Anthony Rizzo doubled in the Cubs' lone run.
With the wind blowing in from center field early in the game, Eflin induced a bevy of weak fly balls that died in the middle of the outfield. It turned into a crosswind as the game progressed and caused some issues in the outfield for Odubel Herrera and Nick Williams, with bloops from Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward hanging up in the air forever before falling in for "singles."
But Eflin was able to work around it and give the Phillies a quick, efficient, commanding outing with 10 groundball outs.
There's little in-between with Eflin. He tends to either dazzle or get lit up. He's not a big strikeout guy, but he is a big command guy, so when he's off by an inch or the home plate umpire isn't giving him borderline strikes, he'll struggle.
Tonight, though, was some of Eflin's finest work. He needed a start like this to keep a hold on the No. 5 spot in the Phillies' rotation with both Enyel De Los Santos (1.70 ERA, 9.6 K/9) and lefty Cole Irvin (2.62 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) pitching well at Triple A.
Eflin is 2-2 with a 3.74 ERA in six starts.
Nick the Stick
Nick Williams started the scoring with a two-run blast to right field in the second inning. Heyward moved about a centimeter before thinking to himself, "Yeahhh, nevermind."
Williams drove in a third run an inning later with a bases-loaded fielder's choice.
In 483 career plate appearances, Williams has hit .273/.328/.461 with 19 home runs, 72 RBI, 18 doubles and four triples.
That'll work for a corner outfielder.
Aaron Altherr also had a productive game, going 1 for 3 with an RBI single, a sac fly, a walk and a run scored.
Carlos Santana reached base three times and has a .397 OBP over the last calendar month.
Arrieta clears the air
Jake Arrieta had a productive conversation with Gabe Kapler, Scott Kingery and various other teammates after his comments Sunday regarding defensive shifts (see story).
Arrieta had some glowing things to say about Kingery, who played solid defense Tuesday and went 1 for 5 with a bunt single and a run scored out of the three-spot in the order.
Early-season Cy Young candidate Aaron Nola (7-2, 2.14) is on the hill Wednesday night at 8:05 p.m. against Cubs lefty Jose Quintana (6-4, 4.30).
Quintana has great stuff but will get wild. He's had four walks in four different starts this season.
Aside from Carlos Santana (8 for 43 with a homer and two doubles), active Phillies have just nine plate appearances against Quintana.