PHILADELPHIA — Kyle Gibson was unhittable for 12 batters Tuesday night.
Then, for 12 pitches, he couldn’t record an out.
With the punchless Phillies desperate for quality starts, especially from their top three pitchers, Gibson turned in a quintessentially Jekyll-and-Hyde performance in a 6-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs, another team that’s playing out the string after strip-mining its roster at the trade deadline.
Gibson plowed through the Cubs’ batting order for four innings before giving up a single and back-to-back home runs to begin the fifth. Patrick Wisdom’s go-ahead two-run shot, which preceded Alfonso Rivas’ solo number, came on a 2-2 pitch and was the 70th allowed by the Phillies in a two-strike count, sixth-most in baseball.
The Phillies backslid to .500 — they are 72-72 — for the 25th time this season. They remained 4 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East but were in danger of sliding to three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild-card race.
Regardless, playoff-race fever isn’t exactly gripping Philadelphia. The announced crowd of 16,170 was the smallest home crowd since June 10 and seventh-smallest in 47 games since Citizens Bank Park reopened to full capacity on June 4.
The Phillies were held to six hits, and save for a sixth-inning spurt, didn’t muster much offense against five Cubs pitchers. Back-to-back doubles by Jean Segura and Bryce Harper and an RBI single by Didi Gregorius led to two runs and cut the deficit to 4-3.
But the Cubs scored twice in the seventh inning against reliever Sam Coonrod to stretch the lead back to 6-3.
Gibson retired the first 12 Cubs batters, including five in a row and seven overall by strikeout. But he allowed a leadoff single to Willson Contreras and didn’t locate his fastball to Wisdom or Rivas.
The Phillies got runners on base in six consecutive innings against Cubs starter Adrian Sampson. But they hit into four double plays — Ronald Torreyes in the second inning, Odúbel Herrera in the third, Brad Miller in the fourth, and Freddy Galvis in the sixth — to halt rallies or kill them entirely.
With J.T. Realmuto sitting out after an anti-inflammatory injection in his right shoulder, Andrew McCutchen batted in the cleanup spot despite his struggles against right-handed pitching and went 0 for 4.
A perfect 10
Harper lined an RBI double off the right-field scoreboard to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. It marks his longest streak since a 10-gamer on Sept. 17-25, 2019.
Harper disagreed with a called third strike that appeared to clip the inside corner with a runner on first base in the first inning. He drew a walk to lead off the fourth but was erased with Miller’s double play.
In the eighth inning, Harper swung out on an elevated fastball.
Herrera drove Sampson’s second pitch of the game to the concourse in right-center field for the Phillies’ 10th leadoff home run, a single-season club record.
Unlike the previous mark, set in 2007 when Jimmy Rollins bashed nine leadoff homers, four Phillies players have hit at least one. Herrera leads the team with four.©2021 The Philadelphia Inquirer, LLC. Visit at inquirer.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.