x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Cubs hit hard by Ibanez

Raul Ibanez sets the tone with a three-run homer in the first inning as the Philadelphia Phillies storm to their ninth consecutive victory.

PHILADELPHIA // Raul Ibanez set the tone with a three-run homer in the first inning as the Philadelphia Phillies stormed to their ninth consecutive victory, a 10-1 rout of the Chicago Cubs on Monday. Carlos Ruiz added a home run and double as the Phillies retained their six-and-a-half-game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. The nine-game winning streak is the club's longest since 2006.

Ibanez crushed a two-strike fastball down the middle of the plate for his 25th home run of the season. Only St Louis's Albert Pujols has more (34). "I felt like it was the big hit of the game," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. Philadelphia grabbed a 5-0 lead off Ruiz's two-run homer in the second inning and made it 9-0 with four runs in the fourth. Ruiz's double accounted for the opening run in the inning.

"I was here early and taking swings in the [batting] cage, and I feel good," Ruiz said. "Not every time, but when you feel good at the plate, you can look for one pitch especially, and then you can hit." With that kind of offence, Rodrigo Lopez had an easy time collecting the win. The right-hander struck out five and walked three while allowing five hits and one run over six innings. Tommy Hanson tossed seven innings of three-run ball, striking out 11, to help the Atlanta Braves roll over the San Francisco Giants 11-3.

Colorado Rockies posted a 10-6 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks to climb to second in the NL West above San Francisco. Jeff Francoeur blasted his first home run for the New York Mets as they put their injury troubles to one side with a 6-2 victory over the Washington Nationals. Carlos Lee blasted a three-run homer in the fourth inning as the Houston Astros edged past the St Louis Cardinals 3-2.

* Agencies