If you haven't yet read the article I posted Wednesday night about the injuries to Dioner Navarro and Thomas Neal, read that one first, then head back here to find out how Donnie Murphy helped lead the Cubs to a 5-2 win over the Phillies, snapping the team's five-game losing streak. The Cubs also thus bounced off their low-water mark for the season, 14 games under .500, set after Tuesday's loss.
Wait. Did you say Donnie Murphy? And if you had even heard of him before this weekend, would you have expected him to have been with the team, starting games, and have hit three home runs in his first three games as a Cub?
This has been a weird season. It got a lot weirder with Murphy's 3-for-3, two-run, four-RBI night. That's the third game of Murphy's career in which he's had three hits; the 10th time he's scored two or more runs; his second two-homer game; and his second four-RBI game. It's the second time he's done all four of those things in one game. Here's the other one, an 11-2 Athletics win over the Twins on April 24, 2008.
This time, Murphy was singlehandedly responsible for the win. His home run in the second inning off Cole Hamels and Domonic Brown's solo shot off Travis Wood were the only runs in the game until the Cubs broke through in the fifth on a little bloopy RBI single from Junior Lake. That's where it stood when Wood was removed from the game in the seventh; Matt Guerrier decided to have a shaky outing and that's when the collision at the plate between Chase Utley and Dioner Navarro, detailed in the link above, happened.
We hope Navarro's going to be all right; Thomas Neal, who was also injured throwing a ball in from left field, is probably out for the year. Nevertheless, if Navarro doesn't hold on to that ball and Utley is safe, the Phillies have a 3-2 lead and there would still have been just one out and runners on base. Maybe they even extend that lead. If that had happened, Jonathan Papelbon would likely have been in the game instead of Luis Garcia and Justin De Fratus (that sounds like a Latin chant, not a real name). Garcia walked three Cubs and would have had the bases loaded with Murphy up, had Cody Ransom not strayed too far off first and gotten picked off. It looked like a typical fizzle-out Cubs rally, and then Murphy launched his home run.
Props to Pedro Strop, who struck out the side in the bottom of the eighth and registered the win after Murphy's homer; Kevin Gregg came in and retired the side 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth for his 23rd save. That equals his save total for the 2009 Cubs, when most every Cubs fan thought he was awful. Gregg's last save in 2009 was registered on August 15; eight days short of four yeqrs later, he matched that total and has a shot at a 30-save season, which would be the third of his career and just the 17th such year in Cubs history.
What a weird game. What a weird year. The Cubs will have a chance for yet another road series win when Jeff Samardzija takes the mound against Phillies rookie Ethan Martin at noon CT. The game preview will post at 10:30 a.m. CT.