The Philadelphia Phillies held off a spirited rally to defeat the Chicago Cubs 7-5 at Citizens Bank Park on Friday.
Philadelphia built a 7-0 lead on the strength of seven strong innings from starter Roy Halladay and a Grand Slam by Placido Polanco in the seventh inning, but nearly let the game slip away in the eighth inning.
“I tried to be aggressive,” Polanco said. “He [Zambrano] is a great pitcher and may only give you one pitch to hit in the at-bat.”
Halladay allowed six hits while striking out nine batters and did not give up a walk in seven scoreless innings to earn his league leading ninth win.
“I thought where we were at, we could get six outs,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “I thought we had the game in control.”
In stark contrast to Halladay’s brilliance, three Phillies relievers combined to allow five runs on three hits and three walks in the eighth inning alone, before Michael Stutes induced a fly ball out by Kosuke Fukudome with two men on to end the threat.
Stutes gave up a lead-off walk to Darwin Barney in the ninth inning, but struck out Starlin Castro and Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz threw out Barney attempting to steal second base for a double play. Antonio Bastardo closed out the game with a strikeout for his second save of the season.
Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano allowed seven runs on seven hits and seven walks while striking out five in over six innings, and left the game after serving up the Grand Slam to Polanco.
Shane Victorino scored Philadelphia’s first run in the first inning and Domonic Brown extended the lead to 3-0 with a two-run homer in the second inning.
BREWERS 8, CARDINALS 0
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Ryan Braun and Corey Hart homered, while Chris Narveson threw eight innings as the Milwaukee Brewers kept winning at home despite a small fire in the ballpark as they blanked the St Louis Cardinals.
Narveson (3-4) began his career as a Cardinals draft pick, but he’s played an important role in Milwaukee’s rotation and stymied his former team after losing to St Louis on May 8.
Braun’s two-run homer made it 4-0 in the fifth and Hart started the sixth with another drive just as smoke started to billow in right field from a concession stand’s malfunctioning popcorn machine.
Tony La Russa managed his 5,000th game for the Cardinals, but there was little he could have liked from this one after St Louis managed just six hits.
In other NL action, it was:
‧ Marlins 6, Diamondbacks 4
‧ Rockies 6, Dodgers 5
‧ Braves 11, Astros 4
‧ Mets 8, Pirates 1
‧ Nationals 2, Padres 1
‧ Giants 3, Reds 2
Clay Buchholz allowed three hits over seven innings, while Jacoby Ellsbury went 3 for 5 with three runs scored as Boston beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-1 on Friday for the Red Sox’s seventh straight win to match their season high.
Buchholz (5-3) struck out six and walked two as he ended a career-long run of four straight no-decisions.
American League RBI leader Adrian Gonzalez drove in a run with a fifth-inning single that gave the Red Sox first baseman seven consecutive games with at least one run driven in. He drove in another run with a ground-rule double off reliever Shawn Camp in the ninth that made it 5-1.
Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia drove in a run each for Boston, who improved their league-best record to 37-26.