Stott's pinch homer, Kimbrel's 399th save lead Phillies over Cubs 2-1
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bryson Stott hit his first career pinch home run, a two-run drive in the seventh inning that led the Philadelphia Phillies over the Chicago Cubs 2-1 Sunday.
After extending their losing streak to five in the series opener, the defending NL champions won the final two games of the set.
“That's what these guys do,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “They battle, they fight.”
Taijuan Walker pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings on three days' rest and Craig Kimbrel got his 399th save, moving within one of becoming the eighth pitcher with 400.
Chicago headed to a nine-game homestand after a 2-7 trip.
“I don’t feel like we’re far off, but we have to be better,” Cubs manager David Ross said.
With the score 0-0, Edmundo Sosa doubled off Albert Alzolay (1-3) with one out in the seventh, Stott, a left-handed batter who had been 1 for 7 with a double as a pinch hitter, batted for righty Josh Harrison and drove a 96 mph fastball on a 1-2 count into the right-field seats for his fourth home run this season.
Stott was hitting in the batting cage behind the dugout every other inning in case he was needed.
“Just trying to stay as ready as I can,” he said.
Matt Strahm (4-3) pitched around a walk in the seventh.
“Just playing how we play,” Stott said. “Taking good at-bats, playing good defense and doing all the little things right.”
Kimbrel gave up Christopher Morel's two-out homer in the ninth and walked Trey Mancini before retiring pinch-hitter Patrick Wisdom on a foulout to catcher J.T. Realmuto. Kimbrel remained perfect in five save chances.
Morel went deep for the fourth consecutive contest and has eight homers in 11 games since his call-up from the minors. He hit 16 homers in 113 games with the Cubs last season.
Nick Castellanos doubled and had two hits for Philadelphia,
Walker got just two outs and threw 40 pitches on Wednesday at San Francisco. He gave up two hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
“I'm sure he wanted to perform and he did,” Thomson said.
The right-hander said he made an adjustment by standing up taller, which allowed him to have more control of his fastball.
“I knew what the fix was and I was able to fix it,” he said.
He had no hesitation about pitching on three days' rest when Thomson asked him in the manager's office on Friday.
Cubs starter Justin Steele allowed four hits in six scoreless innings with six strikeouts and one walk, lowering his ERA to 2.20
Castellanos led off the sixth with a double but was doubled off at third after a strong throw from right fielder Seiya Suzuki following Bryce Harper’s flyout.
Realmuto picked off Mike Tauchman at first base in the second, a play originally called an out by umpire Mike Estabrook but reversed on a video review. Walker picked out Dansby Swanson at first base in the fourth.
“You have to take some risks sometimes,” Ross said. “I wouldn't say that's what cost us the game. But definitely could be better in that area.”
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (right shoulder strain) gave up one run and five hits in six innings, striking out six and walking none, in a rehab start at Triple-A Iowa on Saturday. … RHP Codi Heuer (right elbow surgery) pitched one scoreless inning of relief, walking two and striking out one, at Triple-A Iowa on Sunday.
Cubs Chicago starts LHP Drew Smyly (4-1, 2.86) on Tuesday against the New York Mets.
Phillies: RHP Zack Wheeler (3-3, 4.06) starts for Philadelphia on Monday night to open a three-game home set against Arizona. LHP Tommy Henry (1-1, 5.00) goes for the Diamondbacks.
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