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Friday, April 27, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 5, Phillies 1

By Doug Padilla



PHILADELPHIA -- The Chicago Cubs started their seven-game road trip in ideal fashion, cruising to a 5-1 victory Friday over the Philadelphia Phillies.

How it happened: Raise your hand if you had Paul Maholm outdueling Roy Halladay. Raise your hand if you had the Cubs with the scrappier offense. Both happened Monday night. The Cubs were efficient against Halladay, scoring their three runs off him on six hits, while also working a pair of walks. Maholm, meanwhile, didn’t give up a run until Ty Wigginton tagged him for a long solo home run in the seventh inning. Wigginton was the last batter Maholm faced.

What it means: After a slow start when he gave up six runs in each of his first two starts, Maholm is rolling now. He not only gave up just a run to the Phillies on Friday, he only gave up one run while earning a victory last Saturday against the Cincinnati Reds. Maholm’s consecutive victories came following a run where he lost nine consecutive starts dating back to July 10 of last season.

Outside the box: Ian Stewart had just one hit in his last 22 at-bats, going back to the start of the Cubs’ last homestand, before he pulled an RBI double into the right-field corner off Halladay in the sixth inning. It was just his fourth extra-base hit of the season and first since hitting a three-run home run April 13 at St. Louis.

Off beat: Just because the Cubs beat an ace in Halladay didn’t mean they played an ideal game. On defense Stewart had two balls trickle off his glove for hits, while reliever James Russell was in poor fielding position to get a slow roller to the right of the mound in the seventh. On the bases, the Cubs wound up with two runners on third in the sixth inning, running themselves out of a scoring chance, and Starlin Castro over-slid third base after a successful steal attempt in the eighth inning and was tagged out.

Up next: Cubs right-hander Randy Wells (0-0, 3.60) will make his second start of the season against the Phillies on Saturday. Philadelphia will counter with right-hander Joe Blanton (1-3, 4.34) in the 6:05 p.m. CST start from Citizens Bank Park.