Drew Smyly deals against Phillies as Cubs record first three-game sweep of season
Strong starting pitching was a theme for the Cubs through the three-game series at Philadelphia.
PHILADELPHIA — Left-hander Drew Smyly’s final stat line was good, but his outing was even better than it suggested in the Cubs’ 4-3 victory Sunday against the Phillies.
The result enabled the Cubs to complete a three-game series sweep, their first of the season.
Smyly retired the first 14 batters he faced. The first hit he gave up — a double to Bryson Stott in the fifth inning — was almost caught. Stott hit a line drive to left-center, just out of the reach of diving center fielder Christopher Morel. The next batter, Alec Bohm, drove in Stott with a single to left.
‘‘He was in control the whole way,’’ manager David Ross said of Smyly. ‘‘When he’s in a rhythm like that and throwing strikes and has multiple pitches working, he’s fun to sit and watch. He’s just in cruise control, and he works really quick.’’
Smyly pitched well enough to notch another 1-2-3 inning in the sixth, but defensive mistakes behind him — two dropped pop-ups and leaving third base unmanned with a runner advancing from first — cost the Cubs another run.
Reliever Scott Effross replaced Smyly in the seventh. Smyly was charged with one earned run and four hits in six innings.
‘‘Just throwing strikes and getting ahead,’’ Smyly said of what worked so well. ‘‘And being aggressive and going right at them.’’
Strong starting pitching was a theme through the series. Left-hander Justin Steele kicked things off with five innings of one-run ball Friday, then right-hander Marcus Stroman held the Phillies to one run in six-plus innings Saturday.
Stroman credited pitching coach Tommy Hottovy with finding a mechanical tweak that has helped him post a 1.26 ERA in his three starts since returning from the injured list.
‘‘It’s just over the rubber,’’ Stroman said Saturday. ‘‘It’s getting to this crunch — a very strong, stable position that I wasn’t getting to previously. And once I get to that position, I don’t have to think about anything else afterward. Everything comes out as it should be.’’
Catcher Yan Gomes notched the first multihomer game of his Cubs tenure and the sixth of his career.
Gomes’ first home run gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the third. Then he and rookie Nelson Velazquez homered in the fourth.
‘‘I told Yan, he gets all the day games now,’’ Ross quipped.