Joseph, Phillies strike early and rout Cubs 10-2
CHICAGO (AP) — No sooner did his manager talk about the urgency to produce than Tommy Joseph did just that.
Joseph hit an early three-run homer, Aaron Altherr had three RBIs and the Philadelphia Phillies routed the Chicago Cubs 10-2 on Monday night.
Prior to the game, Philadelphia skipper Pete Mackanin said he liked to give a struggling player such as Joseph about 100 at-bats to come around.
"I hope that's what got it out of him," Mackanin said. "He heard me. But he knows. They all know. I've said it for years now — you audition every day you go out there."
Joseph began the night with a .179 batting average and one homer in 72 plate appearances.
"I still have a few to go," he said. "I still have some adjustments to make. Obviously, it felt good for me to do that, but it's more important for this team to get a win."
Michael Saunders and Freddy Galvis also homered in support of starter Vince Velasquez (2-2) to help the Phillies stop a three-game losing streak.
Chicago opened a seven-game homestand with its fourth loss in five games. The team didn't return home from its Sunday night game in Boston until about 5 a.m. on Monday.
"We've been having to come from behind often in the last week to two weeks," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's not easy to continually do, especially when you're getting to bed at 5 in the morning. No excuses."
After rain delayed the start for 85 minutes, Philadelphia jumped on Brett Anderson (2-1) for seven runs and seven hits in 1 1/3 innings. The start was his shortest since August last year with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Cesar Hernandez singled to open the game before Altherr doubled him home. Maikel Franco walked and, one out later, Joseph lined a hanging slider into the left-field bleachers for a 4-0 lead.
Altherr added a two-run double and Odubel Herrera had an RBI single in the second.
Saunders hit a solo homer and Galvis socked a two-run shot off reliever Justin Grimm in the seventh.
Velasquez took a one-hit shutout into the fifth before Javier Baez led off with a home run. The right-hander allowed one run, two hits and three walks in five innings.
"I should have done a better job executing and putting guys away," said Velasquez, who threw 98 pitches in damp and chilly conditions. "Who knows? I might have went six or seven."
Edubray Ramos, Joely Rodriguez and Pat Neshek combined for four innings of one-run relief.
At 13-12, the Cubs are six games behind their 103-win pace of a year ago, but they still lead the NL Central by a percentage point. "I love it that we're where we are right now based on the fact we haven't played our best baseball yet," Maddon said. "It's just going to keep getting better."
Cubs catcher Miguel Montego and his wife, Vanessa, became United States citizens earlier in the day. The native of Venezuela received a loud ovation when the news was shared on a videoboard. "It's a pretty exciting moment for my family and I," Montero said. "I was so tired I didn't have time to get nervous about it."
Phillies: RHP Aaron Nola (strained lower back) threw 45 pitches in three simulated innings. He is on the 10-day disabled list.
Cubs: SS Addison Russell was given the night off. Baez started at shortstop.
Phillies: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (4-0, 1.80 ERA) starts the second game of the series Tuesday night. He beat the Cubs in his only career appearance against them.
Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (0-1, 3.68) has a favorable matchup in a bid for his first win. He is 6-0 with a 1.46 ERA in eight starts against the Phillies.
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