In Thursday afternoon’s rubber match between the Phillies and the Cubs, it was a game of standout performances for the Phillies and a game in which the Cubs needed Will Smith’s neuralizer from the movie “Men in Black” to help erase the memories of a poor effort.
Vance Worley dominated on the mound and the Phillies dominated at the plate, turning this one into a laugher quickly. Worley (6-1) dazzled over eight innings, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out seven for his fourth consecutive victory, and the Phillies were more than generous at the plate providing Worley with a huge cushion.
Spearheaded by two home runs from Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies cranked out nine runs on 14 hits en route to a 9-1 drubbing of the Cubs. Along with Rollins, the top of the order went 7-for-13 with six RBIs and seven runs scored. Rollins collected three hits and three RBIs. Michael Martinez had two hits, two runs and stole two bases, and Chase Utley added a pair of RBI doubles.
Rollins’ first home run came in the sixth from the left side of the plate, a solo shot to deep right off Cubs reliever Ramon Ortiz, and his second blast came in the eighth from the right side off John Grabow. It was the second time in his career that Rollins homered from both sides of the plate in the same game, also marking the first multi-homer game for Rollins this season.
It was a very long, yet very short day for Cubs starter Ryan Dempster. The right-hander threw 86 pitches and last only three innings, allowing six runs (all earned) on seven hits. The Phillies sent 21 batters to plate against Dempster over three innings. With temperatures hovering near triple digits, the Phillies pounced on Dempster early with two runs in the first, three in the second and one in the sixth.
Ryan Howard’s RBI single and Shane Victorino’s RBI groundout in the first gave the Phillies the early edge 2-0. Dempster appeared to have settled down in the top of the second, getting back-to-back strike outs of Domonic Brown and Brian Schneider, but Worley helped out his cause at the plate with a two-out double to keep the inning alive. Worley’s double would prove to be the rally catalyst, as Rollins followed with a double of his own scoring Worley. Next up, a single by Martinez drove in Rollins to make it 4-0. After Martinez stole second, Utley smacked a double to deep center to score Martinez and make it 5-0.
Schneider doubled in a run in the third and Utley’s second RBI double of the day in the fourth off Ortiz made it 7-0. Rollins’ first solo homer in the sixth made it 8-0. Chicago finally got on the scoreboard after Geovany Soto grounded into a fielder’s choice scoring Aramis Ramirez. Rollins’ second homer in the eighth concluded the scoring for the game.
Dempster suffered his shortest outing of the season since April 28 against Arizona when he recorded only one out and allowing seven runs, four hits and four walks. He wasn’t the only culprit that led to the Cubs’ crummy day. The offense mustered only four hits and didn’t get their first hit off Worley until the fifth inning. Chicago’s top of the order (Kosuke Fukudome-Starlin Castro-Aramis Ramirez-Carlos Pena) went 1-for-14 with six strike outs. Alfonso Soriano went 0-for-3 and left four runners on base.
In a series in which Roy Halladay loses and Cliff Lee gets a no-decision, you might safely guess the Phillies would’ve lost the series. But instead, it was the bulldog Worley channeling his inner Halladay with a strong performance. Worley’s eight innings pitched set a career best while tying a career high with seven strike outs. During his current four-game win streak, Worley has pitched at least seven innings in three of the past four games.
The Phillies return home on Friday when they’ll host the San Diego Padres for four games. Beginning Friday, the Phillies will play 10 straight home games in 10 days against San Diego, San Francisco and Pittsburgh followed by a 10-game, 10-day road trip out west. The next off day for the Phillies will be Aug. 11.