Instant Replay: Phillies 9, Cubs 8

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Instant Replay: Phillies 9, Cubs 8

BOX SCORE

The Phillies’ offense flexed its muscles for a change on Tuesday night in a 9-8 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park.

With eight runs and 13 hits, the Phillies matched their run total of the last three games, while snapping a five-game losing streak.

The victory is just the Phillies’ third in the 16 games since the All-Star break. At 51-61, the Phillies remained 17 games out in the NL East.

But the game was not without its drama. Closer Jonathan Papelbon struggled again in the ninth inning, allowing three runs to score in a non-save situation.

Starting pitching report
Kyle Kendrick made it through six innings, allowing five runs on six hits without a walk. In his last six starts, Kendrick has allowed 28 runs (25 earned) in 31 2/3 innings with 44 hits, five homers and 14 strikeouts.

During that six-game stretch, Kendrick is 3-3 with a 7.11 ERA.

For the Cubs, Edwin Jackson allowed seven runs on 10 hits and two walks in just five innings. Jackson struggled with his command, throwing 51 of his 92 pitches for strikes and surrendering a homer, three doubles and a triple.

Bullpen report
Lefty Jake Diekman allowed a hit and notched two strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings before turning it over to Justin De Fratus with one out in the eighth. De Fratus gave up an infield single and a broken-bat bloop single before settling down to retire the last two hitters of the eighth.

Papelbon gave up three runs -- two earned -- along with three hits and a walk.

At the plate
Playing right field for the first time in his life, Darin Ruf went 2 for 3 with his fourth home run and an RBI double. Fellow rookie Cody Asche also had a pair of hits, including his first big-league, extra-base hit and a pair of runs.

Meanwhile, Dom Brown returned from the seven-day disabled list for a concussion and had two RBIs. Chase Utley also had two RBIs to go with two singles and a triple. Carlos Ruiz capped off the scoring with solo homer in the eighth.

The 12 hits are the most in a game for the Phillies since getting 15 against the Mets on July 19.

The Cubs scored four runs in the second inning on the strength of a three-run homer by No. 8 hitter, Donnie Murphy. It was Murphy’s first homer of the season in just his second game. Anthony Rizzo capped off the Cubs’ scoring with a solo homer in the third inning.

Up next
The series continues on Wednesday night when Cole Hamels (4-13, 3.87) faces Travis Wood (7-8, 3.05). Hamels is coming off a tough-luck no-decision against the Giants in which he scattered seven hits and a walk for eight innings of shutout ball. Hamels was in line for the win until Papelbon allowed two runs in the ninth of a 2-1 loss.

Hamels is 3-1 with a 2.37 ERA in six starts against the Cubs, though he has not faced them since 2010.

Wood has faced the Phillies twice during his career. The first time, in Wood’s third career start, he came within three outs of getting a perfect game on July 10, 2010 for the Reds at Citizens Bank Park. Ruiz broke up the no-hitter to lead off the ninth. Ruiz doubled again in the 11th inning to set up the only run of the game in a 1-0 victory for the Phillies.

Tonight's lineup: Howard batting 5th with Herrera batting 3rd

Tonight's lineup: Howard batting 5th with Herrera batting 3rd

Ryan Howard is batting fifth to begin his final series with the Phillies.

The 36-year-old first baseman, who has donned red pinstripes for 13 seasons, did not play in Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Braves, but he is expected to start all three games against the Mets this weekend.

The Phillies have a lot of speed at the top of the lineup, even with Roman Quinn likely done for the season. Cesar Hernandez leads off with Freddy Galvis and Odubel Herrera right behind him. The trio lead the Phillies in steals with a total of 59 this year. Herrera has 25 while Hernandez and Galvis each have 17.

If you're wondering, Howard has not stolen a base this season, but he was caught stealing once. He hasn't stolen a base since June 26, 2011, before his Achilles injury. He only stole more than one base in a season in 2008, when he swiped eight bases.

Cameron Rupp returns to the lineup at catcher. He'll bat right behind Howard, followed by Jimmy Paredes and Aaron Altherr in the corner outfield.

Here's the Phillies' full lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Jimmy Paredes, LF
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Alec Asher, P

And the Mets lineup:
1. Jose Reyes, 3B
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
4. Curtis Granderson, CF
5. Jay Bruce, RF
6. T.J. Rivera, 2B
7. Lucas Duda, 1B
8. Rene Rivera, C
9. Robert Gsellman, RHP

Phillies-Mets 5 things: Howard, Phils can spoil Mets' season

Phillies-Mets 5 things: Howard, Phils can spoil Mets' season

Phillies (70-89) vs. Mets (85-74)
7:05 p.m. on CSN

Just three games remain in the Phillies' season. After a 24-17 start, the season went predictably downhill. However, the Phils have a chance to play spoiler to a big-time rival with the New York Mets in town. Alec Asher is on the hill for the Phillies while Robert Gsellman faces the Phillies for a third times this year.

Here are five things to watch on Friday night.

1. End of the road for the Big Ticket
There are just three games left in Ryan Howard's tenure with the Phillies.

It's been a long ride for Howard. There'll be plenty on Howard this weekend (and there's a pregame ceremony for him on Sunday), but here are some of his stats from his 13 years in Philadelphia.

Howard has hit 381 home runs and has 1,192 RBI with the Phils. He has 10 seasons of at least 20 home runs and has a run of six straight seasons from 2006 to 2011, his first six full seasons, with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI. He twice walked more than 100 times in a season and he racked up 276 doubles.

The long-time first baseman has hit 47 home runs against the Mets, his second highest total against any team (52 vs. Atlanta). In 174 games, Howard has 157 hits and 73 walks against the Mets.

Howard goes into the weekend with 197 home runs at Citizens Bank Park. Overall, he's racked up 1,465 total bases at CBP. He has, however, struck out 880 times in 769 games there as well.

2. Playing spoilers
While the Phillies are firmly outside of the playoff race, the New York Mets are in the driver's seat for a wild card spot. The Phillies could have something to say about that.

The San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals both won on Thursday while the Mets were off. That leaves the Mets one game ahead of the Giants for the first wild card spot and two games up on the Cardinals for a playoff spot. 

If the Mets win two of three this weekend, they clinch homefield advantage in the Wild Card game on Wednesday. With one win, they guarantee that they cannot be eliminated this weekend. Their magic number is two to clinch a playoff berth, so a combination of wins and Cardinals' losses can get them into the postseason. 

The Phillies can throw a wrench into the Mets' gameplan with a strong showing this weekend. While they've lost six of seven, the Phillies will likely get up for games with playoff implications. Furthermore, the Mets have the incentive to clinch as soon as possible as to avoid needing Noah Syndergaard to pitch on Sunday, so they can hold him for the National League wild card game on Wednesday.

3. Asher closes out impressive month 
Asher has made four starts since coming up earlier this month and has been much more impressive than his late season stint in 2015. 

After going 0-6 with a 9.31 ERA last year, he's 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA. However, despite picking up a win last weekend against the Mets, he struggled late and left room for improvement. 

Asher began his start Saturday vs. the Mets with a perfect game through three innings. He worked around three baserunners in the fourth inning, but came unglued after a couple errors in the fifth inning. While poor defense is not his fault, it would have been a good sign if he could have picked up his defense. Instead, he barely made it through the inning after four unearned runs.

Normally, a team would look for length out of their starter when handed such a large lead, so Asher only making it through five is disappointing. He still hasn't allowed more than two earned runs and has induced plenty of weak contact with his two-seam fastball.

The Mets will be the first (and only) team he faces twice this season.

4. Third time the charm vs. Gsellman?
Gsellman will be making his seventh career MLB start on Friday and it will be his third against the Phillies.

In two starts against the Phils, Gsellman is 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA over 13 innings. He has 13 strikeouts against them while allowing 10 hits and three walks. 

All four runs he allowed to the Phillies came in his first start. He had held the Phils to one run over six innings but departed after loading the bases with none out. The Mets' bullpen promptly allowed all three inherited runners to score.

On Sunday, Gsellman dominated, shutting out the Phils for seven innings. He allowed just five baserunners and struck out eight in the 17-0 win. 

The 23-year-old rookie has a 2.56 ERA through seven appearances in the majors. He started the season in Double A, but he will likely get a playoff start if the Mets gets to the Division Series.

5. This and that
• The Phillies have just two extra base hits in 50 plate appearances against Gsellman. They are hitting .222/.271/.267 against him. 

• Eight Phils have hits off Gsellman. Freddy Galvis is 2 for 5 with a double and Jimmy Paredes is 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI. 

• Michael Conforto hit a home run off Asher last season. No Mets hitter has more than one hit against him, in part because none of them have faced him more than three times.

• The Phillies have 601 runs on the season, the fewest in baseball by 39 runs. The Mets have the fifth worst total with 659 runs.

• Jeanmar Gomez is 0-3 with a 19.13 ERA in September. He's allowed 18 runs (17 earned) in eight innings.