CHICAGO (AP) — Things are looking up for Anthony Rizzo and the Chicago Cubs. Even potentially prickly calls are going their way.
Rizzo hit a solo homer and added a second RBI with a sacrifice fly to lead the Cubs past the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 on Thursday. Chicago won for the fifth time in six games to close to a half-game behind idle first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.
Tommy La Stella and Kris Bryant had RBI singles in Chicago’s decisive three-run fifth inning. Rizzo’s sac fly to left capped the rally after a video review determined Phillies catcher Andrew Knapp had illegally blocked the plate with his left leg as Albert Almora tried to score from third.
Almora beat Dylan Cozen’s strong throw from left field, but was unable to touch the plate with Knapp in the way. Almora initially was called out before the play was overruled to give Chicago its fourth run.
“It’s a sensitive subject, said Rizzo, who upended Pirates catcher Elias Diaz on a controversial play at the plate at Pittsburgh on Memorial Day, but wasn’t called for interference on the field. “In my opinion, a lot more need to be overturned so guys have a better lane to slide.”
The Cubs came out on top again on Thursday.
“For me, it was just trying to make a tag, make a play,” Knapp said. “It’s a play that’s kind of up to the (MLB) people in New York. I thought it was maybe too close to call, but it’s not up to me.”
Almora slid just wide of Knapp to avert a serious collision.
“I knew it might get overturned, but you never know with these rules,” Almora said. “I’m just glad no one got hurt.”
Brian Duensing (2-0), the first of five Cubs relievers, got the win despite allowing two runs over one inning. Phillies starter Nick Pivetta (4-5) lost his third straight, yielding four runs on six hits in five innings.
Brandon Morrow pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances.
Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood permitted one run on four hits in 4 2/3 innings, but walked seven to tie his season-high and raise his major league-leading total to 56. The right-hander hit a batter and three times threw pitches over the heads of right-handed Phillies hitters.
But Chatwood, who used an an abbreviated windup, said he “felt the best I had in a while.”
Scott Kingery drove in two runs with a double and Carlos Santana had an RBI single as the Phillies lost for the fifth time in six games to conclude a 10-game road trip at 3-7. The Phillies dropped two of three in Chicago.
“This was not our best road trip, obviously,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “The way we played against the Cubs. I thought we played our butts off in a lot of ways.”
Rizzo lined his home run to right with one out in the fourth to put Chicago ahead 1-0. He pounced on a down-the-middle fastball for his 10th homer.
The Phillies tied it at 1 in a messy fifth when Santana’s RBI’s single drove in Odubel Herrera from third. Herrera reached on the first of Chatwood’s three walks in the inning, then advanced on a wild pitch and ground out.
Chatwood issued two more passes to load the bases before being replaced by Duensing, who got pinch-hitter Maikel Franco to pop up to end the threat.
After the Cubs took a 4-1 lead in the fifth, Kingery drove in two runs off Duensing in the sixth to cut it to 4-3.
UP A NOTCH
Rizzos’s homer was his 175th with the Cubs, moving him ahead of Hall of Famer Andre Dawson and into 13th place on the team’s all-time list. He has homered in two straight.
LaStella reached first base twice — in the first and the eighth— on catcher’s interference by Knapp.
Phillies: OF Nick Williams (sore left wrist) was held out of the lineup after leaving Wednesday’s game in the fifth inning, but pinch hit in the seventh. . INF J.P. Crawford made his first start (at third base) since April 28, when he strained his right forearm and went on the DL. Crawford pinch hit in the seventh on Wednesday and remained in the game at third.
Cubs: Manager Joe Maddon said SS Addison Russell (bruised left middle finger/glove hand) took batting and fielding practice on Thursday and was “feeling good.” Russell was held out the lineup for a third straight game and will undergo another test on Friday. . RHP Yu Darvish (right triceps tendinitis), took the day off from playing catch, but Maddon said Darvish would toss again on Friday. There’s no timetable for the right-hander’s return.
Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez (4-6, 3.86) takes the mound against Milwaukee’s Jhoulys Chacin (4-1, 3.39) as the Phillies start a six-game home stand.
Cubs: LHP Mike Montgomery (1-1, 3.89) faces Pittsburgh RHP Chad Kuhl (4-3, 3.48) in an afternoon game at Wrigley Field. Montgomery, who will make his third start since Darvish went on the DL, allowed one run and two hits in a no-decision against the Mets last Saturday.