Punchless Phillies lose to Cubs 7-1
''The way he's been going this road trip, a bat like that can hit anywhere in the top five spots,'' Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg said. ''He helped us win games on this road trip. You'll miss a bat like that.''
Darin Ruf hit his 12th home run in the fourth inning off Jake Arrieta, who allowed three hits and a run while pitching into the seventh inning. The Phillies went 3-4 on the trip against the Mets and the Cubs.
Arrieta (2-1) retired eight of the first nine batters. Acquired from the Baltimore Orioles on July 2, Arrieta has been inconsistent in his four starts since joining the rotation Aug. 16. But this time he
worked around three walks with only two Phillies advancing beyond second base in 6 2-3 innings.
''A lot of our guys didn't have too much of a history with him,'' Sandberg said. ''First time through the lineup, he was pretty sharp. That trend continued. Guys had a tough time making adjustments.''
Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick (10-12) tied his career-long losing streak of four games. He allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings.
''You fall behind, it's tough to pitch,'' Kendrick said. ''I went in and fell behind. That's what happens.''
Kendrick has thrown six innings or less in each of his last nine starts. He hasn't won since Aug. 6 when he allowed five runs (four earned) in six innings against the Cubs.
''He just didn't have his two-seam fastball he can throw to the front side of a left-handed hitter and he can throw it to right-handed hitters and get groundballs,'' Sandberg said. ''He wasn't able to get groundballs for double plays. He was pitching up thigh level without the sink to it. Those balls got hit in the gaps with men on base.''
Three Cubs relievers combined for 2 1-3 shutout innings. The victory gave the Cubs their first consecutive home wins since a stretch of three straight July 6-9. Catcher Welington Castillo drove in two runs to lead the Cubs.
Ryan Sweeney, activated from the 60-day disabled list Sunday, delivered in his first at-bat since breaking a left rib when he crashed into the center field wall June 29 in Seattle. Sweeney's single scored Darwin Barney from second to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
''To get that first hit back under the belt was huge,'' Sweeney said.
Anthony Rizzo's double off the right field wall - just out of reach of a leaping Ruf - scored Starlin Castro from first extending the Cubs' lead in the third.
Ruf got a run back in the fourth, hitting a solo homer off Arrieta to cut the Phillies' deficit to 2-1. The Phillies have lost 21 of their last 23 games when scoring three runs or less.
The Cubs broke the game open in the bottom half, starting the inning with three consecutive hits, including back-to-back doubles by Brian Bogusevic and Castillo. Castillo's double drove in two runs. Arrieta
hit a flyball to right and Castillo advanced to third.
Kendrick struggled with his command, missing in the strike zone and hitting Castro with one out to put runners on the corners.
Ruf delivered an on-target throw home on Barney's sacrifice fly. However, Phillies catcher Erik Kratz couldn't hold onto the ball when he went to tag Castillo, giving the Cubs another run and a 5-1
Pinch-hitter Luis Valbuena, who was activated from the 15-day DL before the game, drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth against Phillies reliever J.C. Ramirez and Castro added a sacrifice fly for two insurance runs and a 7-1 lead.
NOTES: With two spots open after the Phillies made two trades Saturday, INF/OF Cesar Hernandez and Michael Martinez were recalled from Triple-A Lehigh before Sunday's game. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.
said more players could be called up in the coming days with the expanded roster. ... Amaro explained the Young trade to the Dodgers went down pretty quickly after getting a phone call from Dodgers GM Ned
Colletti on Friday. He thought the deal might be dead around 11:20 a.m. EDT, but it was revived when both teams were able to finally agree on compensation. . Phillies slugger Ryan Howard (left knee surgery) remains doubtful to return this season, though he continues to make progress, and he might see some game action in the Arizona Fall League, Amaro said.