On a Sunday afternoon in late July in front of a sold out crowd, Ryan Howard homered and the Phillies’ offense scored 11 runs on 17 hits with a 22-year-old future ace on the mound, making only his second Major League start. It felt like 2006 all over again, except the 22-year-old was Aaron Nola, not Cole Hamels, and the sold out crowd was there to cheer on their hometown Cubs, who are currently in a dog fight for the National League’s second Wild Card spot.
On the heels of Hamels’ historic no-hitter, Nola followed with solid outing of his own, pitching 7 2/3 innings en route to his first career win. The offense erupted for 11 runs, and the Philles completed their second sweep since the All-Star Break, crushing the Cubs, 11-5.
Each player in the Phillies’ starting lineup had a hit, including Nola, who notched his second career hit and his first career RBI. Maikel Franco and Howard led the offense, as the Phillies’ three and four hitters combined for five RBIs, including two home runs. For Franco, the home run was his first since June 23 at Yankee Stadium.
Domonic Brown also added three hits of his own to go along with three RBIs. Of the Phillies’ 17 hits, eight went for extra bases, including three doubles, three triples, and two homers. For the series, the Phillies’ offense recorded 21 extra-base hits (13 doubles, four triples, and four home runs).
The Cubs managed to out-homer the Phillies 3-2, but Jason Hammel and the Cubs’ relievers were unable to quiet the Phillies’ bats. Backup catcher David Ross had arguably the easiest inning on the mound for either club, managing a 1-2-3 9th inning on just eight pitches. He then added the Cubs’ fifth run of the game on a solo shot to left.
The Phillies are now 8-1 since the All-Star Break, and are playing their best baseball of the season. They’ll look to stay hot on the north side of the border, as they head to Toronto to take on the Blue Jays for a quick two-game inter-league series.