BY GORDON WITTENMYER
PHILADELPHIA — The weather cooled off Sunday, just in time to offer a reminder about how close the Cubs are creeping to October and how much they have to gain — and lose — with every game left on the schedule.
‘‘That’s where it’s been kind of disappointing because the Cardinals have been such a solid team, and they haven’t really lost eight out of 10 very often,’’ outfielder Chris Coghlan said. ‘‘You don’t really see spurts like that from them.
‘‘So when you can win a game, and playing a team here — no disrespect to them because they’re professionals — but these are [series] we need
to win three out of four. Then you would be able to make up more ground.’’
So when the Cubs came back from a 4-1 deficit, only to lose 7-4 to the Phillies and split a four-game series against the team with the worst record in baseball, it figured to add a bittersweet taste to some of the wings manager Joe Maddon and Co. planned to ‘‘annihilate’’ Sunday night in Pittsburgh.
Coghlan did his part, with a pair of triples and a home run in his first three at-bats. He also had a single in the ninth.
‘‘I’ve never seen him hit the ball that hard in four or five consecutive at-bats,’’ Maddon said, including a shot to the warning track in the seventh inning. ‘‘On the field, the sound was different.’’
Left-hander Clayton Richard took over for right-hander Dan Haren (three rough innings) and pitched four exceptional innings. But he was tagged
with the loss when he allowed a triple with one out and a tiebreaking wild pitch with two outs in the seventh.
‘‘He was outstanding,’’ Maddon said.
Maddon was asked if Richard might have earned a start down the stretch.
‘‘I don’t know,’’ he said. ‘‘I love him in the bullpen.’’
When the Phillies asked the umpires to check the video on Coghlan’s second triple to determine whether a fan had interfered with it at the top of the wall, Maddon was all for it.
‘‘I was happy about it because that opens up Pandora’s box, and maybe it’s a homer,’’ said Maddon, who got such a bonus from an almost-identical review request this season in Cincinnati. ‘‘I think that’s what took so long — to determine whether the ball was actually over the fence or not.’’
The original call was upheld.
Right fielder Jorge Soler (strained oblique) has progressed well enough that he’s playing with Class A Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League playoffs on a rehab assignment, but Maddon said he’s still not sure when Soler will return or what kind of playing time he’ll get when he does.
‘‘Austin [Jackson] changes things a bit, so we’ll have to see how that plays out,’’ Maddon said, referring to the outfielder acquired in a trade Aug. 31 with the Mariners.
Follow me on Twitter @GDubCub.