By Annie Ross
The Phillies finally found a way to beat the Chicago Cubs last night.
True, they needed brilliant efforts from Jerad Eickhoff (above) and Jeanmar Gomez to beat the Cubs at Citizens Bank Park.
Both delivered in a 3-2 victory over Chicago, preventing a season sweep, as the teams play the series and season finales this afternoon.
Eickhoff allowed just two hits, one run, two walks and struck out eight over seven innings to give the Phillies just their fifth victory in their last 18 games. The Cubs threatened in the eighth inning when they loaded the bases with no outs, but Gomez replaced Hector Neris and allowed only one run to score to work out of the jam as he picked up his Major League-leading 19th save.
“Wow,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “That was just a little loss for the Cubs, but it was a huge morale booster for us.”
Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard homered in his first start since May 31 to help the Phillies’ offense.
“It’s good,” Howard said. “I wasn’t thinking about the week or the past 10 days, I was just thinking about that moment. I got a good pitch to hit, he hung me a breaking ball and I was able to hit it out.”
Eickhoff’s gem was just the third time this season a starter had pitched seven or more innings and allowed one or fewer runs against the high-octane Cubs offense. Eickhoff, who has a 2.76 ERA (10 earned runs in 32 2/3 innings) in his last five starts, struck out six of seven batters at one point.
“He just made pitches,” Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward said. “All night I feel like we had good at-bats, got to 3-2 counts a lot. He was able to make some pitches and that was kinda it. We faced him recently. Hitters adjust, but he was able to make an adjustment tonight.