PHILADELPHIA - Nico Hoerner homered early and scored the tiebreaking run in a five-run 10th inning as the Chicago Cubs defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 6-2 on Saturday night.
Hoerner began the 10th as the automatic runner on second base. He stole third with one out and scored on Frank Schwindel’s fielder’s choice. Schwindel hit a high chopper off José Alvarado (3-2), and third baseman Alec Bohm’s throw home was off target.
The Cubs went up by two on Christopher Morel’s RBI single. Bohm’s fielding error on Nelson Velázquez’s hard-hit grounder allowed two more runs to score before Willson Contreras added an RBI double to make it 6-1.
Bohm drove in a run with a groundout in the bottom half.
David Robertson (3-0) tossed a perfect ninth for the win.
Zack Wheeler threw seven strong innings for the Phillies, who have dropped the first two games in the series to the lowly Cubs.
Chicago began play with the fourth-fewest wins in the majors but won its third in a row. The Cubs improved to 4-11 in their MLB-leading 15th extra-inning game.
Wheeler and Marcus Stroman were both stellar in a starting pitchers’ duel.
Wheeler allowed only Hoerner’s homer and two other hits with six strikeouts and no walks. After finishing as the NL Cy Young Award runner-up in 2021, the Philadelphia right-hander wasn’t selected for this year’s All-Star Game despite a strong first half. He continued to impress against the Cubs while lowering his season ERA to 2.78 with 114 strikeouts and 22 walks in 106 2/3 innings.
Stroman matched Wheeler, pitching into the seventh and giving up one run on five hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
Darick Hall led off the seventh with a double off Stroman and scored on J.T. Realmuto’s single, ending the night for the Cubs’ starter after 86 pitches on a scorching evening that began with a game-time temperature of 97 degrees.
Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the second when Hoerner drove an 89 mph slider into the seats in left. Morel’s sixth-inning double and Ian Happ’s seventh-inning single were the only other hits the Cubs mustered off Wheeler.
The Cubs threatened in the eighth when they loaded the bases with two outs. Interim manager Rob Thomson lifted lefty Brad Hand for right-hander Connor Brogdon to face the right-handed-hitting Contreras, and Brogdon got Contreras to pop out.
Philadelphia had a good chance to go ahead in the bottom half when pinch-hitter Matt Vierling led off with a double, but Steven Brault struck out NL home run leader Kyle Schwarber before Mychal Givens got Rhys Hoskins to ground out and Nick Castellanos to strike out swinging.
Cubs manager David Ross was ejected in the 10th by plate umpire CB Bucknor for arguing after Patrick Wisdom was called out on strikes. Neither team appeared happy with Bucknor’s strike zone throughout the evening.
Morel entered leading NL rookies and third among all major league rookies in extra-base hits. He now has 25.
The Cubs signed eight of their first 10 selections in the amateur draft, including first-round pick Cade Horton. A 20-year-old right-hander selected No. 7 overall, Horton was 5-2 with a 4.86 ERA in 14 games for the University of Oklahoma last season.
The club also signed infielder Christopher Paciolla (third round) and right-handed pitchers Brandon Birdsell (fifth round), Will Frisch (sixth round), Nick Hull (seventh round), Mason McGwire (eighth round), Connor Noland (ninth round) and Brody McCollough (10th round).
Cubs: INF Nick Madrigal (left groin strain) went 1 for 2 with an RBI and a walk in a rehab assignment at Triple-A Iowa on Friday. Madrigal has been out since June 12.
Phillies: INF Nick Maton, sidelined since June 5 with a right shoulder sprain, continues to rehab at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Cubs LHP Drew Smyly (2-5, 4.22 ERA) opposes Phillies LHP Bailey Falter (0-2, 4.82) in the finale of the three-game series Sunday.