PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Carlos Ruiz homered and drove in three runs, Joe Blanton threw 7 1-3 sharp innings and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Chicago 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.
Blanton (2-3) allowed two runs and eight hits, striking out eight. Chad Qualls got the last two outs in the eighth. 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 for Chicago. Wells gave up four runs and three hits in 3 2-3 innings. He was hurt by wildness, walking four batters.
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 spot atop the lineup 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.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)