The Phillies on Tuesday won just their third game out of 16 since the All-Star break by nipping the Cubs, 9-8, and avoiding what would have been a catastrophic collapse.
Jonathan Papelbon – a not-so-fan-favorite of late – entered the ninth inning with a 9-5 lead. The closer gave up back-to-back hits to start the frame before notching back-to-back strikeouts, but he wouldn’t leave unscathed.
Ex-Phillie Nate Schierholtz followed with a two-run single. Papelbon then induced a routine fly ball to end it, but Domonic Brown – in his first game back from the seven-day DL – shockingly dropped it to let another run cross home plate.
Mercifully, after walking a batter, Papelbon threw a game-ending flyout with men on the corners to seal the win.
Can you imagine the scene at Citizens Bank Park had Papelbon and the Phils blown that?
It was a nice night for the Phillies’ future. Darin Ruf extended his on-base streak to 33 games, which is the longest active streak in the majors and matches Utley’s in 2008. Mike Schmidt owns the longest on-base streak in club history at 56 games.
Ruf hit his fourth home run of the season and went 2 for 4 with two runs batted in. He also made his first start in right field and looked fine.
Cody Asche was back at third base after a night off Sunday and doubled, singled, walked and scored a pair of runs. Chase Utley also tallied three hits and Brown posted a hit and two RBIs in his return.
Kendrick won his 10th game despite digging the Phillies a 5-2 hole in the third inning.
The Phillies are now 51-61.
Cole Hamels (4-13, 3.87) opposes Chicago lefty Travis Wood (7-8, 3.05) on Wednesday.