PHILADELPHIA—Carlos Ruiz homered and drove in three runs, Joe Blanton threw 7 1/3 sharp innings and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Cubs 5-2 on Saturday night.Jimmy Rollins, back in the leadoff spot for the first time this season, added a two-run double for the Phillies, the five-time defending NL East champions who are off to a 10-11 start.Does that mean Rollins will stay atop the lineup? Pierre has been leading off for the Phillies and has been one of the few bright spots for a slumping offense. Pierre is hitting .333.Whatever the batting order, pitching performances like Blanton’s will help the Phillies win plenty of games.Blanton (2-3) allowed two runs and eight hits, striking out eight. Chad Qualls got the last two outs in the eighth and Jonathan Papelbon finished for his seventh save in as many tries.Bryan LaHair hit an RBI double and Randy Wells (0-1) couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning. Wells gave up four runs and three hits in 3 2-3 innings. He was hurt by wildness, walking four batters.
“In the fourth inning, I was trying to be too fine,” Wells said. “Walks will kill you.”
Wells didn’t allow a hit until Hunter Pence led off the fourth with a single. Walks to Jim Thome and Laynce Nix loaded the bases. Ruiz then ripped a one-out, two-run single to left-center to drive in two for a 2-1 lead.With two outs, Wells walked Blanton to reload the bases. Rollins followed with a two-run double just inside the right-field line to snap an 0-for-13 slump and put the Phillies up 4-1.Rollins was in his customary leadoff spot after hitting third in place of the injured Chase Utley the first 20 games. Rollins had just three RBIs coming in.Rollins, the 2007 NL MVP, also spent the first month last season in the No. 3 spot while Utley was sidelined. Over the past two Aprils, Rollins has a .254 (45 for 177) average with one homer and eight RBIs as the three-hole hitter.Ruiz connected off Michael Bowden in the sixth to make it 5-1.The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Starlin Castro hit a two-out single, stole second and scored on LaHair’s drive to right.Thome, who started at first base and hit cleanup, left the game with tightness in his lower back. He’s day to day.Meanwhile, the Phillies got some good news before the game. Ryan Howard will be heading to Clearwater on Sunday and Utley could join him within a week as the two injured stars inch closer toward joining the team for the first time this season.
NOTES—Yhe Cubs placed C Steve Clevenger on the 15-day DL (retroactive to April 26) with a right oblique strain, and recalled C Welington Castillo from Triple-A Iowa….Former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins threw out the first pitch, a one-hopper that Rollins picked cleanly. Dawkins retired earlier this week after 16 seasons in the NFL, the first 13 with Philadelphia and last three in Denver. The Eagles announced they will retire his No. 20 in an emotional news conference Saturday morning….Phillies LHP Cliff Lee had a catch before the game. Pitching coach Rich Dubee said Lee has to be “pain-free” to throw a bullpen session. Lee is on the DL with a strained left oblique….A crowd of 45,196 was the 228th straight sellout at Citizens Bank Park, including postseason play.