PHILADELPHIA -- Outstanding starting pitching and some steady offense propelled the Chicago Cubs to a relatively easy 5-1 victory Sunday over the Philadelphia Phillies, putting them a victory Monday away from winning their second consecutive series.
How it happened: Matt Garza was electric in dominating a Phillies lineup that hasn’t been doing much of late. Garza gave up a single to Jimmy Rollins to lead off the first inning and then recorded outs on the next 19 batters before allowing a walk to Juan Pierre in the seventh inning. Like the first game of the series, the Cubs offense strung together hits to produce runs, with Tony Campana wreaking havoc on the bases to produce two runs on his own. The shutout was spoiled when Carlos Marmol walked in a run in the ninth inning.
What it means: The Cubs starting pitching hasn’t been solid every night but has been impressive most of the opening month. That comes even with Opening Day starter Ryan Dempster on the disabled list and Randy Wells substituting two uneven starts in his place.
Outside the box: Just two steals from tying the Cubs record for stolen bases in the month of April, Starlin Castro was thrown out on another attempt Sunday. Castro has 10 steals in April. The club record of 12 was set by Brian McRae in 1996.
Off beat: It took nearly a month but the Cubs finally got a home run from a starting outfielder when Joe Mather went deep for his first of the season. It was just Mather’s third start in the outfield this season. The Cubs were the last major league team to get a home run from an outfielder. The Yankees and Orioles started the day with 17 home runs from their outfielders.
Up next: The Cubs will send right-hander Chris Volstad (2-1, 4.13) to the mound Monday in the finale of the four-game series. The Phillies will counter with right-hander Vance Worley (2-1, 2.16) in the 6:05 p.m. start from Citizens Bank Park.