May 17, 2012, 12:46 AM EDT
Hm… which story line from Wednesday night’s 9-2 Phillies victory over the Cubs at Wrigley shall we lead with?
Kyle Kendrick throws six strong innings, allowing one earned run off three hits while filling in for Vance Worley on short notice. Nah, he’s terrible.
Carlos Ruiz continues to mash, giving the Fightins the decisive lead in the eighth on his seventh home run of the season — one shy of a career high. Kind of becoming par for the course, isn’t it?
Hector Luna blows the game wide open in the ninth with a pinch-hit grand slam in his first at bat for the Phils, and first big league plate appearance since 2010. Hell, even SportsCenter will show that.
How ’bout this: the Phillies win their fourth straight, boosting their record to .500 for the first time since May 3, almost two weeks ago. Simple and satisfying.
There weren’t just one or two heroes in this effort anyway. Almost everybody who played came up with some form of positive contribution toward the outcome.
The game was tight through the first eight innings, and Kendrick was a big part of the reason why, but Jose Contreras, Antonio Bastardo, and Raul Valdes each retired the Cubs in order in the seventh, eighth, and ninth respectively.
Ruiz was 2-for-4 and scored three runs, but the impressive growth of rookie Freddy Galvis was on full display, as he went 2-for-4 as well with a pair of doubles and an RBI.
And Luna’s moonshot will turn up in every highlight reel on Thursday, but Mark Fontenot’s and Ty Wigginton’s pinch hits in the ninth do not deserve to go overlooked. Fontenot also notched his first hit as a Phillie, and Wigginton drove him and another home for the inning’s initial insurance runs.
For the first time all season, this team is firing on all cylinders. Granted they’ve taken five of six off of sub-.500 opponents — a classification the Phils, for now, no longer fall into themselves — but they haven’t strung wins together like this all year long though. It’s a good sign that they are finally scoring runs and holding on to leads at the same time.
One more against the Cubs tomorrow, with the opportunity to go above .500 for the first time since Opening Day on the line.
There is one injury to report. Placido Polanco fouled a pitch off his knee, and had to be removed from the game. Officially diagnosed as a bruise, Polanco is said to be sore, and it sounds unlikely he will play tomorrow. Otherwise, it doesn’t appear to be too serious.
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