There’s blood in the water at Wrigley Field and the Phillies are feasting.
For the second night in a row Tuesday, the Phillies’ bats turned into incisors as they ripped apart Jake Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs, 15-10. Bryce Harper had five hits, including a three-run homer.
The Phillies have scored 28 runs in the first two games of the four-game series against the Cubs. It’s the first time since June 2015 that the Phils have reached double-digit runs in back-to-back games and the first time since April 2009 that they’ve scored at least 13 runs in consecutive games.
That’s one-way to ease bullpen-related stress.
With the All-Star break just a few days away and the July trade deadline looming, the Phils are finding a rhythm. They have won four of five to pull within a game of .500 and they trail the first-place Mets by four games in the NL East.
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Meanwhile, the Cubs are reeling. They have lost 11 straight games to fall from first place in the NL Central to nine back and two games under .500.
The Phillies will look to extend the Cubs’ misery Wednesday night when they send their ace, Zack Wheeler, to the mound. Right-hander Alec Mills will start for the Cubs.
Wheeler, who is headed to his first All-Star Game, will bring a microscopic 2.05 ERA into the start. He has not allowed a run in four of his last five starts.
There was little doubt in this one from the beginning, though the Cubs did keep things mildly interesting by scoring 10 runs, five against reliever Bailey Falter and another against Enyel De Los Santos. Falter and De Los Santos combined to allow eight hits.
Jean Segura, leading off in place of slumping Odubel Herrera, drove Arrieta’s first pitch of the game to left for a double. Arrieta then hit J.T. Realmuto with a pitch and allowed a single to Harper to load the bases.
That brought up Andrew McCutchen, who entered the game with 21 RBIs since June 1. McCutchen made it 4-0 with one swing of the bat and his second grand slam of the season.
Arrieta gave up three more runs in the second and did not get out of the inning. He has a 10.41 ERA in his last seven starts. His spot in the rotation was in jeopardy before the start. Now? Well, that’s the Cubs’ problem.
Arrieta spent the previous three seasons with the Phillies, went 22-23 with a 4.36 ERA in 64 starts and collected $75 million before signing a one-year deal with the Cubs over the winter.
Arrieta gave up six hits. The Phillies had 16 for the night in support of Aaron Nola, who was excellent in spurts but not completely consistent in allowing four runs over six innings. Nola gave up six hits, including a homer, and a walk. He struck out eight.
One night after clouting five homers, the Phils got three more. In addition to McCutchen’s grand slam, the Phils got a solo shot from Rhys Hoskins, his 20th of the season, and the three-run blow from Harper.
The homer was Harper’s 15th of the season and seventh in the last 13 games. It was also his first with runners on base this season.
The five-hit night raised Harper's batting average 15 points to .282. He added four RBIs.
If Harper stays hot, he’ll be the equivalent of a July addition for this team.
Hoskins had three hits, all for extra bases, and drove in four runs.
Combined, McCutchen, Harper and Hoskins drove in 12 of the Phillies’ 15 runs.