Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto homered off Jon Lester, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Chicago Cubs 9-7 on Thursday for a split of the four-game series between division leaders.
Andrew McCutchen added two hits and two RBIs as Philadelphia won for the fifth time in seven games. Aaron Nola (5-0) pitched 5 1/3 innings of three-run ball in his second straight victory.
Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber hit homers for Chicago, which had won three of four. Rizzo finished with four hits and three RBIs, but the NL Central-leading Cubs were unable to overcome a second consecutive shaky performance by Lester (3-3).
After pitcher Tyler Chatwood’s pinch-hit double got Chicago within two in the ninth, Héctor Neris struck out Addison Russell and retired Victor Caratini on a fly ball to left to close out his eighth save in eight chances. Neris entered with runners on first and second in the eighth and retired Javier Báez on a deep fly ball to left.
Realmuto gave Philadelphia a 4-0 lead in the third when he belted a solo drive over the bleachers in left for his seventh homer. The Phillies added three more in the fourth, taking advantage of some shoddy fielding by Chicago.
With Sean Rodríguez aboard after a one-out single, Nola successfully bunted a two-strike pitch from Lester and catcher Willson Contreras threw wildly to first for an error. McCutchen then hit a bouncer up the middle that looked like a possible inning-ending double play, but second baseman Daniel Descalso’s throw pulled Rizzo off the bag at first.
Rodríguez scampered home to make it 5-0 Philadelphia. Segura followed with a long drive into the bleachers in left-center for his fifth homer for the NL East leaders.
That was the last inning for Lester, who was charged with four earned runs and seven hits in his second straight loss. The ace left-hander has allowed nine earned runs and 17 hits in his last two outings after yielding five earned runs and 35 hits in his first seven starts combined.
Lester had an 8-0 record and a 1.49 ERA in 10 career starts vs. the Phillies before Thursday.
Segura also doubled in the third to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. The shortstop is batting .325 in his first season with the Phillies.
Cubs star Kris Bryant was out of the starting lineup for rest. He walked as a pinch hitter in the sixth.
The Phillies optioned left-hander Cole Irvin to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and recalled right-hander Drew Anderson from their top farm club. Irvin started Wednesday’s 8-4 loss and allowed seven runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Cubs: RHP Pedro Strop (left hamstring strain) felt good a day after a 25-pitch bullpen session. He is scheduled for another bullpen session Saturday. “He’s feeling pretty good right now,” manager Joe Maddon said. The Cubs haven’t decided if Strop will go out on a minor league rehab assignment before returning to the team. “If they ask me, I’m going to say I don’t need it,” Strop said.
Phillies: Jerad Eickhoff (2-2, 3.23 ERA) takes the mound Friday night for the opener of a weekend series at Milwaukee. The right-hander allowed five runs in four innings in a 6-1 loss to the Brewers on May 14. Chase Anderson (2-0, 2.66 ERA) pitches for Milwaukee.
Cubs: Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 3.21 ERA) pitches Friday in the opener of a three-game series against Cincinnati. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in four May starts. Anthony DeSclafani (2-2, 4.60 ERA) gets the ball for the visiting Reds.