Drew Smyly deals vs. Phillies as Cubs record first sweep of the season

PHILADELPHIA — Cubs lefty Drew Smyly’s final stat line was good, but his outing was even better than it suggested in the Cubs’ 4-3 win against the Phillies on Sunday.

With the victory, the Cubs completed a three-game series sweep, their first of the season.

Smyly retired the first 14 batters he faced. The first hit he gave up, to Bryson Stott in the fifth inning, was almost caught. Stott hit a line drive to left-center, just out of the reach of Cubs center fielder Christopher Morel, who dove after the ball. The next batter, Alec Bohm, drove in Stott with a single to left field.

“He was in control the whole way,” manager David Ross said. “When he’s in a rhythm like that, and throwing strikes and has multiple pitches working, he’s fun to sit and watch. He’s just in cruise control, and he works really quick.”

Smyly pitched well enough to record another 1-2-3 inning in the seventh, but defensive mistakes behind him — two dropped popups and leaving third base unmanned with a runner advancing from first — cost the Cubs another run.

Cubs reliever Scott Effross replaced Smyly in the seventh inning. Smyly was charged with one earned run and four hits in six innings.

“Just throwing strikes and getting ahead,” Smyly said of what was working so well against the Phillies, “and being aggressive and going right at them.”

Strong starting pitching was a theme through the whole sweep. Lefty Justin Steele kicked things off with five innings of one-run ball on Friday. Then, right-hander Marcus Stroman held the Phillies to one run through six-plus innings.

Stroman credited pitching coach Tommy Hottovy with finding a mechanical tweak that’s helped Stroman post a 1.26 ERA in his three starts since returning from the injured list.

“It’s just over the rubber, it’s getting to this crunch, very strong, stable position that I wasn’t getting to previously,” Stroman said Saturday. “And once I get to that position, I don’t have to think about anything else afterward. Everything comes out as it should be.”

Gomer homer

Catcher Yan Gomes recorded the first multi-homer game of his Cubs tenure Sunday and the sixth of his career.

Gomes’ first home run gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Then, he and rookie Nelson Velázquez both homered in the fourth.

“I told Yan, he gets all the day games now,” Ross quipped.

Cooperstown bound

Buck O’Neil was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday, along with a 2022 class that includes Minnie Miñoso, David Ortiz, Tony Olivia, Bud Fowler, Gil Hodges and Jim Kaat.

O’Neil made history when he joined the Cubs coaching staff in 1962, becoming the first African American coach in Major League Baseball. He spent 33 years with the Cubs in all, as a scout, coach and instructor. His time with the Cubs, 1956-1988, followed his highly-decorated Negro Leagues playing career.

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