PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera rounded third base, tossed his helmet to the side and hopped onto home plate as a bucketful of bubble gum rained upon him and teammate Cesar Hernandez kicked him on the rear Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.Cabrera's walk-off homer beat the Cubs in
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera rounded third base, tossed his helmet to the side and hopped onto home plate as a bucketful of bubble gum rained upon him and teammate Cesar Hernandez kicked him on the rear Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Cabrera's walk-off homer beat the Cubs in 10 innings, 2-1.
The victory tightened the race in the National League East as the calendar turned to September. The Braves lost at home to the Pirates within minutes of Cabrera sending a 1-2 sinker from Cubs right-hander Steve Cishek into the left-center-field stands. The Braves had the potential tying run at second base and go-ahead run on first, but they could not score. The Phillies cut a 4 1/2-game deficit in the standings to two games in just three days.
"We take care of business, we do our part, we kind of feel like we are in control of our destiny," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "And we really are. We play great baseball down the stretch, we're going to win the National League East."
The Phillies acquired Cabrera from the Mets on July 27 to help them win the division. He hit .277 with 18 home runs, 58 RBIs and an .817 OPS in 407 plate appearances with the Mets, but his first month with the Phillies had been a struggle. He entered Friday's series opener against the Cubs hitting .218 with two homers, nine RBIs and a .604 OPS in 116 plate appearances with the Phillies.
"This game is not easy," Cabrera said. "Up and down. I know that I probably can do better, but I trust myself."
The Phillies trust themselves, too. They believe they will play better than they played in August. They were a season-high 15 games over .500 on Aug. 5, giving them the second-best record in the NL. They are 9-14 since.
But they are within striking distance, very aware they play the Braves in seven of their final 11 games.
"We've got a really good team, we've got good talent," Cabrera said. "The last week we didn't play really good, but we've got talent. We've got talent, and I believe in the team and we're going to be fine."
More big hits from Cabrera would help.
"That's why we traded for him, right?" Kapler said. "Biggest moment. Right-handed pitcher on the mound. Ball is sinking away from him. He has that sweet stroke. Absolutely demolished that ball to left-center field. That was a really good celebration in the dugout. We had a lot of fun tonight. One of the things we've stressed recently is in these times, they kind of get a little bit stressful, but we're going to have fun. We're going to smile. We're going to laugh. That was a great moment to watch Scott Kingery and Cesar Hernandez cover Asdrubal with the Gatorade bath."
• Phillies fans give Hamels an ovation
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pivetta grinds: Cubs shortstop Javier Baez jumped on a first-pitch slider from Pivetta with one out in the fifth, ripping a solo home run to left-center field to hand the Cubs a 1-0 lead. The ball left his bat at 110.7 mph, according to Statcast™. It was the only run Pivetta surrendered, as he allowed five hits and three walks, while throwing 105 pitches. He struck out six.
"They worked a lot of counts against me," Pivetta said. "They saw a lot of pitches. After that I just tried to go as deep as I could."
Bullpen deals: The Phillies' bullpen pitched five scoreless innings, including another scoreless inning from Hector Neris. He has struck out 20 of 31 batters faced in 10 games since being recalled from Triple-A.
"I cannot dote on our bullpen enough," Kapler said. "They have just come up so many times. They have not gotten the attention that they deserve. We had ridden them so hard. And we've put them in incredibly difficult, unique, new positions for all of them. They've just answered the bell continually."
Phillies right fielder Roman Quinn doubled and scored the Phillies' first run in the sixth inning. He has hit safely in nine consecutive starts, hitting .417 (15-for-36) with two doubles, three triples, one home run, five RBIs, 10 runs scored and four stolen bases.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The Phillies turned a pair of big double plays in the seventh and 10th innings. The Cubs had runners on first and second with one out in the seventh, when Baez hit a line drive to right field. Phillies right fielder Jose Bautista reached up at the last moment to make the catch. The play surprised Cubs pinch-hitter Thomas La Stella, who took off for third base. Bautista threw the ball to second to easily double-up La Stella and end the inning.
Carlos Santana turned a nice double play behind Pat Neshek in the 10th, when Benjamin Zobrist hit a ground ball up the first-base line. Santana caught it, stepped on first and threw to second, ultimately catching Anthony Rizzo in a rundown.
HE SAID IT
"Uh, yeah I think it was against Ramos, right? My teammate, Ramos. That's always a good win, when you do that to help your team." -- Cabrera, on if he remembered his last walk-off home run. It came against Phillies right-hander Edubray Ramos on Sept. 22, 2016, at Citi Field.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Phillies lost a challenge in the eighth inning, when first-base umpire Marty Foster called Willson Contreras safe on a play at first base, ruling that Maikel Franco's throw pulled Santana's foot off the bag before the ball arrived. After the Phillies challenged, the play stood as called.
Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin (9-5, 3.99 ERA) will square off with Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks (10-10, 3.86) on Saturday (7:05 p.m. ET) in the second game of a weekend series at Citizens Bank Park. Eflin is 2-3 with a 5.53 ERA in his past eight starts and has a 7.27 ERA in his past two.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.