CHICAGO (AP) — Marcus Stroman pitched seven innings of four-hit ball, and Yan Gomes hit a tiebreaking double in the seventh inning, lifting the Chicago Cubs to a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night.
The Phillies' magic number to clinch a National League playoff berth is stalled at eight after their third straight loss. The Cubs (68-86) won for the sixth time in seven games.
“If we can do that, awesome,” Stroman said of playing the role of spoiler. “If not, cheers to the Phillies on their playoff run.”
Stroman (5-7) struck out six and lowered his ERA to 2.50 over his last six starts and 2.74 over his last 15.
“I feel I'm someone who's always pitched well in the second half, regardless of what happens in the first half, which I feel is a rarity in this game,” Stroman said. “To have someone who goes out there and gives you complete good years, that's usually what a workhorse is, and that's usually something I pride myself on.”
Phillies starter Zack Wheeler limited the Cubs to five hits, but allowed a homer by rookie Christopher Morel in the third inning. Wheeler, in his second start since returning from right forearm tendonitis, needed only 62 pitches through six innings.
“I'm ecstatic,” Philadelphia interim manager Rob Thomson said. “I think that time off maybe did him some good.”
Stroman issued his first walk to Bryson Stott to start the sixth. After Kyle Schwarber and Hoskins struck out, Bryce Harper hit a deep drive that grazed off the outstretched glove of a diving Morel in left-center, scoring Stott.
Prior to Harper's double, Stroman retired the first eight batters and didn't allow a runner past first base. J.P. Realmuto hit a pop into shallow left that third baseman Zach McKinstry chased before pulling away at the last moment, allowing it to fall untouched for a single. But Realmuto was erased on an inning-ending double play to finish the fourth.
The Cubs missed a chance to regain the lead in the bottom of the sixth as Esteban Quiroz hit a drive off the wall in right that advanced McKinstry from first to third. But Quiroz managed only a single, and Willson Contreras grounded into a double play.
Contreras was reinstated before the game after missing 21 games because of a left ankle sprain. He remains at less than 100% as he barely reached second on a drive to the corner in right in the fourth, only to have the double overturned by replay that ruled that Nick Castellanos' throw nailed Contreras.
“Great throw,” Thomson said. “Great job by Stott to hold the tag. Nick looked really good. He got a hit and moved around well in the outfield. He'll play again (Wednesday), and then we'll play it day by day.”
Castellanos was reinstated before the game after not playing since Sept. 2, due to a right oblique strain.
Ten of Morel's 15 homers have been hit at Wrigley.
The Phillies lost for only the third time in their last 15 games against NL Central opponents.
HURRICANE IAN CAUSES SHUTDOWN
Hurricane Ian's threat to Florida forced the Phillies to temporarily move players from their Clearwater, Florida, facility to Philadelphia, Thomson said. Players affected by the switch were those participating in the Instructional League and those recovering from injuries who could help the major league team at some point. The Phillies also are scheduled to play a four-game series at Washington starting Friday, and Nationals Park could be in the path of Ian. “I don't know what they're going to do,” Thomson said.
CONTRERAS CONTEMPLATES POTENTIAL OFFER
Contreras, a free agent at the end of this season, was glad to be activated before the last homestand and didn't rule out accepting a qualifying offer should the Cubs make one. “We'll wait and see what's next, but we have to consider it,” Contreras said. Last winter's qualifying offer was $18.4 million, but Contreras is looking for more than just security and money. “For me, it's more like feeling I'm wanted,” Contreras said. “I'm going to be somewhere where I'm wanted, and they're going to feel appreciated that what I do on the field and off the field.”
C Donny Sands was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to make room for Castellanos. INF Johan Camargo was outrighted to Lehigh Valley.
Cubs: OF Seiya Suzuki was reinstated from the restricted list. INF Jared Young was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. OF Michael Hermosillo was designated for assignment,
Phillies: LHP Brad Hand (left elbow tendinitis) had a cortisone shot and will miss at least one more day. ... INF Edmundo Sosa (right hamstring strain) remained in Philadelphia.
Cubs: 2B Nick Madrigal (right hamstring strain) was ruled out for the season, manager David Ross announced. Madrigal was limited to 59 games because of hamstring, groin and lower back injuries. ... LHP Wade Miley (oblique soreness) played catch and hopes to make a start by the end of this homestand. ... LHP Justin Steele (low back strain) threw a bullpen session prior to Tuesday game. ... LHP Drew Smyly (shoulder stiffness) will threw a bullpen session during this series and hopes to make one more start.
The Phillies will start RHP Aaron Nola (10-12, 3.28) against the Cubs on Wednesday. Nola threw six shutout innings in a 9-1 win Sept. 23 over the Braves. The Cubs will counter with RHP Hayden Wesneski (2-1, 2.45), who allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings in a 3-2 win Sept. 22 over the Pirates.
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