Cubs wrap up three-city road trip with 2-1 loss to Phillies

Starter Justin Steele threw six scoreless innings in the Cubs’ loss.

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PHILADELPHIA — Even a gem from Justin Steele couldn’t cure the Cubs’ woes.

In their 2-1 loss to the Phillies on Sunday, Steele threw six scoreless innings for his eighth quality start of the season.

“He threw the ball well, all we get asked for,” manager David Ross said. “Just couldn’t get much going offensively.”

The Cubs had only three hits, including a home run from Christopher Morel. And on the rare occasions that they did put men on base, they didn’t capitalize. For the first time this season, the Cubs were picked off at first base twice.

“For the most part, we put up some decent at-bats, just never really could get anything going [against Phillies starter Taijuan Walker],” shortstop Dansby Swanson said. “But got to give credit to him, mixing his pitches and on both sides of the plate, up, down.”

The Phillies broke the scoreless tie in the seventh inning. Reliever Adbert Alzolay, who entered the game with a 1.99 ERA, gave up a double to Edmundo Sosa and a two-run homer to Bryson Stott.

Morel moves up

To begin the series, Morel was hitting eighth or ninth with second baseman Nico Hoerner back from the injured list and batting leadoff. On Sunday, Ross penciled in Morel to bat sixth.

“That’s just such a threat at the bottom of the lineup,” Ross said before the game. “Moved him up a little bit in the lineup today to see if we can get that with some more baserunners.”

It didn’t work out quite as Ross had planned, but Morel drove a homer off ex-Cub Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning. It was his eighth home run, making him the fourth major-league player since 1900 to hit that many in his first 11 games of a season.

Hendricks close

In a Triple-A rehab start Saturday, Kyle Hendricks (strained right shoulder) allowed one run in six innings. It was his fifth rehab outing and his third of at least five innings.

“Felt really good after his outing,” Ross said. “I don’t know how he is today. Just making sure he’s not sore, then try to look at a slot where we might be able to line him up in the rotation, given everything is healthy.”

Hendricks is expected to join the team in Chicago this week. The Cubs have their probable starters mapped out for their three-game series against the Mets, with Drew Smyly taking the mound in the opener Tuesday, followed by Marcus Stroman and Jameson Taillon. But if Hendricks recovers well, he could be available to return this weekend against the Reds.

Heuer progressing

Reliever Codi Heuer (Tommy John surgery) made his sixth Triple-A rehab outing Sunday, tossing a scoreless inning. He walked two batters.

Heuer is eligible to be reinstated from the 60-day injured list next week, but the Cubs have not announced a date for his return.

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