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Homer-happy Cubs down Phils behind Lester

May 27, 2016

CHICAGO -- The young and the old showed off their home run swings as 24-year-old sluggers Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant each hit a solo shot and veteran David Ross belted a three-run blast to power the Cubs to a 6-2 victory over the Phillies on Friday at rainy Wrigley

CHICAGO -- The young and the old showed off their home run swings as 24-year-old sluggers Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant each hit a solo shot and veteran David Ross belted a three-run blast to power the Cubs to a 6-2 victory over the Phillies on Friday at rainy Wrigley Field.
All three homers came off Phillies lefty Adam Morgan, who lasted four-plus innings. Jon Lester, who couldn't make it out of the third inning in his last outing, went 6 1/3 innings for the win. The Phillies took advantage of errors by Dexter Fowler and Javier Baez to score an unearned run in the third against Lester.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon called them mistakes that they never make.
"Dexter catches that ball 101 times out of 100," Maddon said.
The difference for Lester was his ability to be more consistent with his pitches, especially his curve. The previous outing didn't faze him.
"I wasn't worried about my start at all," Lester said.
And the Phillies were aggressive.
"They were swinging -- they were swinging from jump street, so to execute the fastball was important," Ross said.
Maddon gave Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward the day off, and the team didn't miss a beat. The Cubs (32-14) are off to their best start since the team opened the 1918 season at 32-13.

Streaking:Ben Zobrist, who turned 35 on Thursday, doubled with one out in the first and now has reached safely in his last 32 starts, the first Cubs player to do so since Starlin Castro's 40-game streak at the end of the 2011 season. He also extended his hit streak to 13 games. One out later, Zobrist scored on Soler's single.

Rude welcome to Wrigley: Morgan had given up only two home runs in 25 2/3 innings this season entering Friday. In his first start at Wrigley Field, Morgan surrendered two homers in the fourth inning alone, when Soler took a hanging 1-2 slider off the left-field scoreboard and Ross smashed a 1-0 changeup that almost reached Waveland Avenue. Morgan also gave up a homer to Bryant in the fifth, when the first baseman turned on an inside fastball on a 1-2 count.
"You can overcome a solo home run, but that home run to Ross, that was the one that got us out of the game," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. More >

Father Time: Cubs players have been counting down Ross' home runs, and they could finally celebrate the veteran's 100th career blast. Soler led off the fourth with his moonshot, and after Addison Russell walked and Javier Baez singled, Ross, 39, hit his milestone homer. He celebrated in the dugout with his teammates, then tipped his cap to the fans.
"The boys were excited, I was excited," Ross said. "My favorite part while this has been going on is rounding second base and looking in the dugout. It makes me smile every time seeing everybody so happy for me and counting down for me. They're as happy as I am. That makes me feel good."
Ross is the oldest player in franchise history to hit his 100th homer as a Cub. More >

Refreshing rain? After a 56-minute rain delay, the Phillies momentarily looked rejuvenated. When play resumed with one out and a runner on second in the top of the seventh, Freddy Galvis singled to move Odubel Herrera to third. Maikel Franco followed up with an RBI single on a slow roller aided by the wet infield grass, but the rally didn't materialize as Tommy Joseph and Carlos Ruiz struck out to end the inning.
"I think we had 10 hits and one double, so there's not a lot to say other than we couldn't string enough hits together to get anything going," Mackanin said. "We had some opportunities and didn't capitalize."
The Cubs have ensured at least a .500 record for each of the first eight months of Maddon's tenure as manager, and he's the first Cubs skipper to do that since Jim Frey, who had winning months from April 1984-May 1985.
"Nobody's solid in their spots. Last year, I always had to talk about how you audition every day. Every time you go out there, you got to keep doing it. At this level, consistency is the hallmark of a good Major League player."
-- Mackanin, on if Morgan's rotation spot could be in jeopardy
"Who wants a picture with me? I'm surprised he didn't ask for [Bryant] or [Rizzo]."
-- Ross, on the fan who retrieved his 100th home run ball and asked for a photo with the catcher in exchange

In the Chicago seventh inning, Bryant walked with two outs and advanced on a wild pitch. The Phillies challenged whether Bryant was safe at second, and after a review, the call stood.

Phillies:Jerad Eickhoff will make his 10th start of the season for the Phillies against the Cubs on Saturday at 2:20 p.m. ET. He threw seven scoreless innings in his latest start, a win against the Braves.
Cubs:Kyle Hendricks is coming off a tough loss to the Giants. The right-hander gave up one run on three hits over 5 1/3 innings in that game, the fifth time this year he's given up two or fewer earned runs. He made one start vs. the Phillies last Sept. 11 and picked up the win. First pitch at Wrigley Field is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT.
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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Cody Stavenhagen is a reporter for based in Chicago who covered the Phillies on Friday.