Facing a bases-loaded, no-out jam with a two-run lead in the eighth inning, Jeanmar Gomez, Andres Blanco and Freddy Galvis saved the Phillies and preserved a 3-2 win.
The Cubs loaded the bases against Hector Neris in the eighth on an error and two singles, forcing Pete Mackanin to turn to Gomez for a six-out save. Gomez induced a sacrifice fly from Dexter Fowler, and fleet-footed Jason Heyward hit a rocket up the middle that Andres Blanco dove to glove and flip to Galvis, who caught and threw the ball to first in one motion. Even a millisecond of hesitation would have resulted in Heyward's being safe.
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The clutch pitching and defense enabled Jerad Eickhoff to earn a win after spinning seven of the best innings of his career.
The win makes the Phillies 29-30 overall and 15-5 in one-run games. The Cubs are 40-17.
Starting pitching report
Eickhoff utilized all of his pitches, throwing a career-high 27 sliders. He allowed just two hits and a run over seven innings, walking two and striking out eight.
The slider was his go-to off-speed pitch on Tuesday against the Cubs. He's been turning to that pitch more often lately in an attempt to keep hitters off his curveball, which had been a highly successful pitch but was becoming predictable when he was ahead in counts.
Eickhoff retired 10 batters in a row after Kris Bryant's first-inning single. His only jam came in the fifth, when the Cubs put runners on the corners with nobody out. Eickhoff induced a double play by Miguel Montero that brought in a run, but that's a trade-off you'll take almost every time. Eickhoff proceeded to set down eight of the final nine Cubs he faced.
Chicago right-hander Kyle Hendricks lasted just five innings after pitching a complete game against the Phillies on May 28. Hendricks allowed two runs on four hits over five innings, striking out six. The Phillies seemed better prepared for all of the sinkers and changeups he pumped low in the zone.
Two-inning saves are rare these days. There have been eight in the majors this season, but Gomez is the only actual National League closer to register one. It was his MLB-leading 19th save.
Regardless of what would have transpired, Mackanin's decision to turn to Gomez made sense because he gives the Phillies the best chance of getting a groundball.
At the plate
Ryan Howard homered to right-center on the first pitch of his second plate appearance, and later hit a 400-foot flyball that Fowler caught on the warning track in center.
Howard walked his first time up. Starting for the first time in a week, he reached base twice for the first time since May 3. He homered for the first time since May 11. He'll need these kinds of games more than once a month to stay in the Phillies' lineup a few days per week.
Odubel Herrera gave the Phillies some insurance in the seventh inning with a two-out RBI single. It drove in Carlos Ruiz, who singled and stole second base earlier in the inning.
Galvis, starting in the three-hole for the first time in his career, doubled and scored on Maikel Franco's first-inning single. It was just the eighth time in 59 games this season the Phillies scored in the opening frame. Their 11 first-inning runs are by far the fewest in baseball.
The Phillies, who entered 23 for 43 in stolen base attempts, went 3 for 3 (Ruiz, Herrera, Cody Asche).
Mackanin got specific prior to Tuesday's game when asked about the adjustments his hitters need to make (see story).
The three-game series concludes Wednesday afternoon at 1:05 when Vince Velasquez (5-2, 3.67) opposes veteran right-hander John Lackey (6-2, 2.88). The Phillies are then off Thursday before heading to D.C. for a weekend series against the Nationals.