PHILADELPHIA A game-tying fielding error became secondary when Cesar Hernandez collided with the Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo and tumbled to the ground. Hernandez, the Phillies' 25-year-old second baseman, winced in pain as a trainer ran out to first base to tend to him.
A dislocated left thumb forced Hernandez from the Phillies' 7-4 win on Sunday afternoon against the playoff-bound Cubs at Citizens Bank Park. The two teams split the four-game series. With only 18 games remaining in the Phillies' season, it's possible the injury could spell the end of the year for Hernandez.
The injury occurred in the seventh inning. Hernandez dropped a chopper by Rizzo, and his momentum carried him into the Cubs All-Star first baseman, who had already safely reached base. Rizzo was shaken up on the play, too, but remained in the game.
Addison Russell scored on the play, tying the score at 4. The Phillies retook the lead in the bottom half of the seventh when Aaron Altherr tripled and later scored on a Clayton Richard wild pitch.
The Phillies' win evened the four-game series at two apiece. To avoid the franchise's first 100-loss season since 1961, baseball's worst team must win seven of its final 18 games, nine of which come on the road.
Hernandez is one of the many young players the Phillies were given a chance to play every day in an effort to discern, which will play a part in the team's future. The switch-hitting Venezuelan has experienced an uneven season at the plate, hitting .324 in June but only .245 in August. Overall, he is hitting .272. Of his 110 hits, 85 are singles. His defense is adequate at best.
Andres Blanco replaced Hernandez in the game. The Phillies added two insurance runs in the eighth Blanco scored one of them on a Freddy Galvis double. Ken Giles converted his 13th save in as many opportunities to cap the game.
Although he did not factor into the game's decision, Aaron Harang exited in line for the win after five innings. The 37-year-old right-hander allowed three earned runs on six hits and one walk and one hit batsmen. He struck out five. Chris Coghlan accounted for half the hits against him, tripling in each of his first two at-bats and drilling a home run in his third. Both triples were off the top of the wall, inches away from home runs.
Ryan Howard drove in three runs. He hit a two-run home run in the third inning, his first since Aug. 25, to give the Phillies a 4-1 lead.
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