PHILADELPHIA — The Cubs’ offense already was having a solid series against the Phillies, scoring 11 runs in the first two games and putting together strong at-bats. But the hitters saved their best for the last game with a seven-run third inning. It wasn’t enough, however, in a 17-8 loss.
Sergio Alcantara led off with a walk and was followed by a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Hendricks. Rafael Ortega and Frank Schwindel walked to load the bases with one out.
The next batter, Ian Happ, was hit in the foot with a slider in the dirt, giving the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
Willson Contreras added an RBI single two pitches later.
Patrick Wisdom would get in on the action next, lining a two-run double into the left-field gap.
After hitting a solo homer on Wednesday, Matt Duffy put the exclamation point on the inning with a three-run homer into the left-field seats to give the Cubs a 7-0 lead.
It was only the second time in Duffy’s career that he had homered in back-to-back games.
“Our guys have done that,” manager David Ross said of his offense this week. “I mean, if you look at kind of our track record with this second group, we’ve done a nice job as the game goes on and continue to have good at-bats.’’
The Cubs wouldn’t be able to take advantage of that large lead as starter Kyle Hendricks allowed seven runs in the fourth. The team’s bullpen was unable to stop the bleeding as the Phillies added 10 runs and 10 hits off of five relievers.
Things have gone well for Cubs infielder Nico Hoerner during his latest rehab assignment as he works his way back from a strained right oblique. He has been on the injured list since July 29.
Hoerner has been playing shortstop for Triple-A Iowa and is 2-for-9.
He had the night off Thursday and likely will play one more game in the minors on Friday before returning to the Cubs.
If things go well, he could be back in the lineup Saturday in Milwaukee.
Right-hander Keegan Thompson (right shoulder inflammation) has responded well after his bullpen session Tuesday. He will throw again Friday before the series opener against the Brewers.
Ross said Thursday that the plan is for Thompson to rejoin the rotation when he’s healthy.