Gomes, Smyly help lift Cubs to three-game sweep of Phillies

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PHILADELPHIA — Yan Gomes hit two home runs, Drew Smyly tossed six sharp innings and the Chicago Cubs completed a three-game sweep with a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Nelson Velazquez also went deep for the Cubs, who have won four in a row to pull within 19 games of .500. It was Chicago’s first three-game sweep in Philadelphia since July 25-27, 2000.

Garrett Stubbs homered for the Phillies, who failed to gain ground in the NL wild-card race against the lowly Cubs. Only the Reds, Athletics and Nationals entered the day with fewer wins than Chicago.

Cubs starter Drew Smyly (3-5) had a perfect game going into the fifth, when Bryson Stott hit a two-out double to left-center that just eluded a dive from center fielder Christopher Morel. Stott scored on Alec Bohm‘s single to left.

Smyly allowed one earned run on four hits with four strikeouts and no walks.

Gomes led off the third with the first of his two shots off Bailey Falter (0-3) to give Chicago a 1-0 lead. Morel’s RBI double – his NL rookie-leading 26th extra-base hit – made it 2-0.

In the fourth, Gomes connected for his sixth career multi-homer game with a drive to nearly the same spot in left field. And the Cubs pushed it to 4-0 when Velazquez drove Falter’s 75 mph curveball over the wall in left two batters later.

David Robertson pitched a scoreless ninth for his 14th save in 19 chances. Robertson had to wriggle out of a jam. With runners on first and second and one out, Didi Gregorius popped out to left and then Robertson struck out Stubbs swinging.

Velazquez came off the bench to hit two late home runs in Chicago’s win on Friday night, marking just the second time that’s happened to a Cubs player since at least 1901. The Cubs finished the series with eight home runs, in addition to 25 runs and 33 hits.

Falter gave up four runs on five hits with five strikeouts and two walks in five innings.

CASTELLANOS DROPS DOWN

Interim Phillies manager Rob Thomson dropped Nick Castellanos down to the No. 5 spot in the lineup from the No. 3 hole.

Castellanos signed a 5-year, $100 million free-agent in the offseason but has struggled in his first year in Philadelphia, entering Sunday batting .245 with 8 homers and 46 RBIs.

“He was a pro,” Thomson said before the game. “He said, `Whatever you think you need to do.”‘

The demotion came a day after Castellanos and a longtime local beat writer got into a heated postgame exchange that went viral on social media when the reporter objected to Castellanos calling a question about fans booing him a “stupid question.”

Castellanos was loudly booed after striking out swinging in his first two at-bats before receiving raucous cheers for a seventh-inning single. He heard boos again after popping out foul to first to lead off the ninth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: INF Nick Madrigal (left groin strain) was scheduled to continue his rehab assignment at Triple-A Iowa on Sunday. Madrigal has been out since June 12. . LHP Wade Miley (left shoulder strain) is slated to throw live batting practice on Monday. He hasn’t pitched since leaving his June 10 start after three innings.

Phillies: Thomson was optimistic that Jean Segura (broken right index finger) might return sooner than expected following his workout on Saturday. Segura, out since June 1 and eligible to return from the IL on Aug. 3, could begin a rehab assignment sometime this week.

UP NEXT

Cubs: Host the Pirates for two games beginning on Monday night, when Cubs RHP Adrian Sampson (0-1, 3.34) faces Pirates RHP JT Brubaker (2-8, 4.02).

Phillies: Start three-game series against Atlanta on Monday. Phillies LHP Ranger Suarez (7-5, 4.07) faces Braves LHP Max Fried (10-3, 2.64).

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.