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Triple play propels Phils to series win vs. Cubs

MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- The momentum flipped on a dime.

The Cubs led by three runs with two on and no outs to begin the fifth inning, on the verge of knocking out Phillies starter Nick Pivetta and getting into a beleaguered bullpen. But Javier Baez lined a ball to left, and Rhys Hoskins came charging in, completing an improbable shoestring catch that left both Cubs' baserunners in no-man's land, perfect targets for an inning-ending triple play.

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PHILADELPHIA -- The momentum flipped on a dime.

The Cubs led by three runs with two on and no outs to begin the fifth inning, on the verge of knocking out Phillies starter Nick Pivetta and getting into a beleaguered bullpen. But Javier Baez lined a ball to left, and Rhys Hoskins came charging in, completing an improbable shoestring catch that left both Cubs' baserunners in no-man's land, perfect targets for an inning-ending triple play.

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"What a game, I think the key to the game was when I put on the triple play sign. That was huge, I just saved it for that moment," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin joked after the game, adding that the play flipped the game's momentum "without question."

Video: CHC@PHI: Phillies relay incredible 7-4-3 triple play

Minutes later, in the home half of the inning, the Phils struck for five runs, powering them to a 6-3 win over the Cubs, their first series win against an above-.500 team since July 21-23 against the Brewers, and just their third such series win all season (Marlins, April 26-27; Nationals, April 7-9).

With the loss, the Cubs' lead over the Brewers in the National League Central was cut to two games.

Freddy Galvis had a two-run single in the fifth to tie the game, and rookie outfielder Nick Williams followed with a two-run homer, his eighth of the year, to put the Phillies ahead for good. Hoskins added a late insurance run with another record-setting homer -- his fifth in as many days and 11th in just 18 Major League games, an all-time record.

Video: CHC@PHI: Hoskins crushes his 11th homer in 18 games

"It was a huge momentum boost for us, and we went out there and did the right thing," Pivetta said of his club's response after the triple play. "We scored five runs. That was a good thing to end on, and the bullpen came in right after me and just shut it down."

Cubs starter John Lackey struck out the first five batters he faced but was chased after the fifth. Lackey gave up four earned runs on six hits and one walk.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bryant's blunder: After making two nice plays in the fourth inning, Kris Bryant had a ground ball go under his glove in the fifth. Bryant was ready to start a double play when Cameron Rupp sent a grounder to third, but instead he made his 16th error of the season. Instead of nobody on with two outs, the Phils had runners on the corners with no outs on their way to a five-run frame.

"I should've totally stayed back on it knowing the speed of the runner. Usually [our pitchers] are able to get us out of that, but not today," Bryant said. "I feel terrible about it."

Video: CHC@PHI: Galvis rips a two-run single to tie the game

Pivetta limits the damage The first three Cubs to come to the plate Sunday all scored, two on hot-hitting first baseman Anthony Rizzo's single. It looked like Pivetta, who lasted just 1 1/3 innings in his last start, could be in for another short outing. But with the bases loaded and one out, Pivetta struck out Rene Rivera and got Lackey to ground out to end the jam. The right-hander pitched four scoreless innings after the first to get the ball to the Phillies' bullpen.

"I feel like I really needed to step up here and I really needed to throw some shutout innings, especially after that three-run first," Pivetta said.

"He kept battling," Mackanin said. "He didn't feel sorry for himself, he goes out there and he competes. … He missed location quite a bit, the error to start the game didn't help, that got us off on the wrong track. Nevertheless, he came around and once again gave us five innings, which we sorely needed with our bullpen."

Video: CHC@PHI: Pivetta freezes Schwarber on a heater in 2nd

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The triple play was doubly important, both killing the Cubs' potential lead-extending rally and getting Pivetta through five innings of work and saving a taxed bullpen. Philadelphia's relievers have thrown the second-most innings (50 1/3) in the past two weeks entering play Sunday, with the sixth-highest ERA (6.22) in that span.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Rizzo had an interesting time on the bases in the fifth inning. Rizzo was called out at first base on a pickoff attempt from Pivetta only to have the call overturned by a replay review. This came after Pivetta threw over to first with Rizzo standing firmly on the base earlier in the same at-bat. Rizzo's adventure on the bases ended when he was thrown out as part of the Phils' triple play.

Video: CHC@PHI: Rizzo safe at first after call overturned

QUOTABLE
"Their guy is going to go in the Hall of Fame next week. [He] makes a play. He beats us with the bat, he beats us with the glove. He made an error, finally, at first base to show finally he is human." -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon, on Hoskins

WHAT'S NEXT
Cubs: The Cubs head back to the Windy City to face the Pirates on Monday at 7:05 p.m. CT in the start of a seven-game homestand. Left-hander Mike Montgomery will get the start against Trevor Williams.

Phillies: Aaron Nola takes on the Braves in Monday's series opener at 7:05 p.m. ET at Citizens Bank Park. Nola has faltered his last two times out, allowing 12 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings after allowing just 13 earned runs in his previous 10 starts (68 1/3 innings).

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia and covered the Phillies on Sunday.

Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia and covered the Cubs on Sunday.