Rare off night for Lilly ends Cubs' streak
All-Star lefty's knee feels fine, but command escapes him
PHILADELPHIA -- Most people would welcome a nine-day summer vacation, but the time off didn't help Ted Lilly.
Raul Ibanez smacked a three-run homer and Carlos Ruiz hit a two-run shot off Lilly to power the high-rolling Philadelphia Phillies to a 10-1 victory over the Cubs, snapping their win streak at four games.
"It's only one loss," Lou Piniella said. "After playing five games on this road trip, to be 4-1, you've got to be pleased. We just have to play better [Tuesday] and the next day."
Lilly (9-7) leads the Cubs with 14 quality starts, but lasted four innings, his shortest outing of the year. The lefty served up a career-high nine runs, although two were unearned. It was his first start since July 11, and Lilly, the team's lone All-Star, had been given two extra days because of some inflammation in his left knee. The knee wasn't a problem.
"He didn't complain at all about his knee afterward," Piniella said. "We'll have to wait until [Tuesday], but he'll be sharper his next time out."
"Maybe [the nine-day layoff] had something to do with my command, I guess," Lilly said. "Everything else -- my arm strength felt good, my body felt good. The first thing I would go to is command of my fastball and slider more than anything else."
Piniella predicted a better outcome for the lefty's next start. So did Lilly.
"That kind of effort is not going to work," Lilly said, "and it's going to make it awfully tough for us to win games if I'm going out there and giving us less than four innings."
"The important thing for us and for Ted," Piniella said, "is that he comes out of this thing health-wise fine and we'll get him pitching again and he'll be ready."
Despite all the left-handed bats in the Phillies' lineup, they've had no problems with left-handed pitchers, and now are 22-11 against southpaw starters with a Major League-leading 46 home runs off lefties.
|"Maybe [the nine-day layoff] had something to do with my command, I guess. Everything else -- my arm strength felt good, my body felt good. The first thing I would go to is command of my fastball and slider more than anything else."|
|-- Ted Lilly|
"Those lefties stay in there pretty good," Lilly said of the Phillies. "It's a good lineup. They haven't changed too much of the lineup that won them the World Series last year, and they went out and added another left-handed contributor [in Ibanez]."
Rodrigo Lopez (2-0), making his first start since July 8, gave up one run on Ryan Theriot's RBI single in the fifth as the Phillies won their ninth straight. Lopez scattered five hits over six innings, striking out five.
Jimmy Rollins singled to lead off for the Phillies and Shane Victorino doubled. Derrek Lee made a great stop on Chase Utley's ball and Lilly struck out Ryan Howard. But Ibanez smacked his 25th home run, and now has nine off left-handed pitchers, which is tied for first in the National League with Jayson Werth and Prince Fielder. Philadelphia has four players in the starting lineup with 20 or more home runs. The Cubs don't have anyone with 20.
"When Ibanez hit the home run in the first inning, it was real, real big for us," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We had guys on second and third and nobody out. Utley hit the ball to first base. I don't know where [Lee] was playing, but it looked like he was right on the bag and snagged it. Ryan struck out. But Ibanez didn't let them get away. I feel like that was the big hit in the game."
Ruiz isn't at the 20-homer mark yet. He made it 5-0 with a two-run homer in the second, his fourth, to drive in Pedro Feliz, who had walked.
"They're a good challenge," Lilly said of the Phillies. "I look forward to having another opportunity at them."
The Phillies added four in the fourth. Lilly walked Jayson Werth to start the inning and Feliz blooped a single that dropped between Kosuke Fukudome and Alfonso Soriano in left-center. Ruiz then hit an RBI double and one out later, Jimmy Rollins made it 7-0 with a sacrifice fly. Victorino lofted the ball to left and Soriano dropped it, the ball hitting his glove and bouncing off, which allowed another run to score.
"It was a routine fly ball," Soriano said. "I like to have my hop. It was an easy fly ball and I dropped it."
Chase Utley followed Victorino with an RBI single to make it 9-0, but was caught in a rundown to end the fourth.
Howard led off the eighth with his 24th home run, connecting against Angel Guzman. The Phillies definitely present a different challenge than the Washington Nationals did. They are 13-1 since July 3, and now a season-high 14 games over .500.
"They've got a good lineup for sure and good left-handed hitters," Theriot said of the defending World Series champions. "You see when Jimmy [Rollins] gets going how it changes the complexion of their lineup. They have a good one-two punch and the guys after that can hurt you."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.