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Abreu's slam enough to lift Phillies past Cubs

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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PHILADELPHIA -- One of Philadelphia's most baffling second-half problems has been solved: Bobby Abreu really can hit home runs in games, not just meaningless exhibitions.

Abreu's grand slam snapped a 25-game homerless skid, and Todd Pratt and Chase Utley added solo shots, leading the Phillies to a 6-4 win over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.

"I really was relieved," said Abreu, who went 2-for-4.

Abreu was mired in a monthlong slump, hitting just .217 since winning the Home Run Derby with a record-setting performance during the All-Star break in Detroit. Abreu and manager Charlie Manuel consistently denied the 41-homer exhibition display affected the slugger's swing. But the waist-up cardboard cutout of a smiling Abreu holding the derby trophy over his head that was in his locker this week was going deep as often as the real person.

"It's not because of the Home Run Derby," Abreu reiterated. "I've been pulling the ball too much. I've been too aggressive at the plate. I've been swinging at a lot of bad pitches."

Abreu's first-inning grand slam off Mark Prior (7-4) was his 19th homer of the year and first since another grand slam against Pittsburgh on July 4.

"It shows he stayed on the ball and got through it. That's a good sign," Manuel said.

The slam helped the Phillies win the final two games of the three-game series and remain in the chase for the NL wild-card lead.

Brett Myers (10-5) won his third straight start and fourth consecutive decision, getting through 6 1/3 decent innings on a steamy, sticky afternoon. He reached double digits in victories for the third season in a row and is just one win shy of last year's total.

Billy Wagner pitched a perfect ninth for his 25th save.

Prior ran into trouble in a hurry in the first, allowing two hits and a walk to open the game. Then Abreu -- whose average dipped from .307 on July 14 to .291 entering Thursday -- hit a drive that just cleared the 398-foot sign on the bullpen fence.

"I just wanted to hit the ball in the air and keep the rally going," he said.

After Neifi Perez and Henry Blanco had RBI hits in the fourth to give the Cubs a 4-2 lead, Pratt got a run back in the fourth with his sixth homer.

Myers gave up two more runs in the fifth on Aramis Ramirez's two-run single to left, but Ramirez squashed the rally when he was thrown out by Pat Burrell trying to stretch the hit into a double.

"It's good to see that we kept adding on and kept padding the lead even after I gave up a couple of runs," Myers said. "We came right back."

Myers allowed 10 hits, four runs and struck out four.

Utley's 16th homer in the fifth made it 6-4. That was it for Prior, who allowed six hits, six runs and struck out seven in 4 1/3 innings.

"He threw a lot of pitches early and didn't have his location," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.

The Cubs have lost five of seven and head to New York for a three-game series with the Mets. They hope the return of shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and pitchers Kerry Wood and Scott Williamson this weekend will help them make a dent in the wild-card race.

"I'm hoping Nomar, Williamson and Wood will give us a charge," Baker said. "Nomar should certainly help the offense."

Notes

  • Garciaparra is set to come off the disabled list Friday and start for the first time since he injured his groin in late April. Garciaparra will probably start Friday and Sunday against the Mets.
  • While Abreu's homerless streak ended, Burrell's reached 15 games. 1B Ryan Howard has gone 11 straight games without one.
  • Abreu's grand slam was the fifth of his career.
  • The Cubs failed to homer in the series, marking only the second time in the two-year history of the park that an opponent has not homered in a series.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Bobby Abreu jogs home after his first-inning grand slam, which snaps his 25-game homerless skid. (AP)
Bobby Abreu jogs home after his first-inning grand slam, which snaps his 25-game homerless skid. (AP)

Players of the Game
Philadelphia

B. Abreu
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
Chicago

A. Ramirez
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
 
Chicago Cubs
Matt Lawton, LF5010002 .273
Todd Walker, 2B4100101 .296
Derrek Lee, 1B4120001 .358
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4122002 .310
Jeromy Burnitz, RF4000001 .266
Neifi Perez, SS4131000 .268
Jose Macias, CF4020012 .296
Henry Blanco, C3011111 .224
    Roberto Novoa, P0000000 .000
Mark Prior, P1000012 .200
    Michael Wuertz, P1000010 .000
    Will Ohman, P0000000 .000
    Michael Barrett, C1000010 .268
Totals3541142512 
Batting
2B - Matt Lawton (29, Myers), Derrek Lee (33, Myers), Aramis Ramirez (27, Myers), Neifi Perez 2 (21, Myers, Myers)
SH - Mark Prior (4)
RBI - Aramis Ramirez 2 (80), Neifi Perez (42), Henry Blanco (13)
Team LOB - 7
Chicago Cubs
Mark Prior (L,7-4) 4.1666373 3.64
Michael Wuertz 2100000 4.63
Will Ohman 0.2000200 2.81
Roberto Novoa 1100000 3.86
IBB - Burrell by Will Ohman
Pitches-Strikes - Mark Prior 100-66, Michael Wuertz 19-14, Will Ohman 20-8, Roberto Novoa 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Prior 1-5, Will Ohman 1-1
Batters Faced - Mark Prior 22, Michael Wuertz 7, Will Ohman 4, Roberto Novoa 4
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS5110002 .282
Jason Michaels, CF3110110 .301
Chase Utley, 2B2211201 .309
Bobby Abreu, RF4124011 .293
Pat Burrell, LF2000201 .279
Ryan Howard, 1B4000024 .271
David Bell, 3B4010012 .255
Todd Pratt, C4111012 .250
Brett Myers, P3010010 .116
    Ryan Madson, P0000000 .000
    Ugueth Urbina, P0000000 .000
   a- Endy Chavez, PH1000001 .250
    Billy Wagner, P0000000 .500
Totals326865714 
a-flied out for Urbina in the 8th
Batting
HR - Chase Utley (16, Prior), Bobby Abreu (19, Prior), Todd Pratt (6, Prior)
RBI - Chase Utley (63), Bobby Abreu 4 (66), Todd Pratt (20)
SB - Chase Utley (11, 2nd base off Ohman/Blanco)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Pat Burrell 1
DP - Bell-Utley-Howard
Philadelphia Phillies
Brett Myers (W,10-5) 6.11044240 3.32
Ryan Madson (H,26) 0.2000000 3.65
Ugueth Urbina (H,8) 1100000 3.25
Billy Wagner (S,25) 1000010 1.89
Pitches-Strikes - Brett Myers 101-69, Ryan Madson 4-3, Ugueth Urbina 10-9, Billy Wagner 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brett Myers 8-6, Ryan Madson 1-0, Billy Wagner 1-1
Batters Faced - Brett Myers 30, Ryan Madson 1, Ugueth Urbina 4, Billy Wagner 3
Game Information
Attendance - 37882
Game Time - 2:39
Temperature - 91
Umpires - Home - Lazaro Diaz, First Base - Chris Guccione, Second Base - Marty Foster, Third Base - Dana DeMuth