Soler, Ross, Bryant hit long HRs as Cubs pound Phillies 6-2

In a game where the Cubs hit several mammoth drives, David Ross' smash against an advertising sign beyond the left-field bleachers stood out.

His 100th career home run was something to behold, and it wasn't just because of the distance it traveled. It was the feelings it generated.

Ross' drive broke open a game in which Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant hit long homers to back Jon Lester and lead Chicago to a 6-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on a rainy Friday afternoon.

"He makes our clubhouse better, he makes our guys better," said Lester, Ross' teammate in Boston and Chicago. "He knows how to go about pushing buttons with certain guys and getting the best out of them. I know that's true of myself."

The big home runs helped the Cubs win their third straight after dropping eight of 12, and they came before two late delays — for 56 minutes in the top of the seventh inning and for 37 minutes at the start of the ninth.

Soler broke a 1-1 tie with his shot halfway up the video board in left leading off the fourth. Ross added a three-run homer off the Nuveen sign beyond the left-field bleachers in the inning to give the Cubs a 5-1 lead, and Bryant chased Adam Morgan (1-3) with a towering shot to start the fifth.

"It's nice to have a nice round number — 100 in the show," Ross said. "That's pretty cool for me. But it affected the game. That's even better, right?"

Lester (5-3) rebounded from his shortest start of the season by giving up two runs — one earned — and six hits while pitching into the seventh.

Ben Zobrist extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a double and single, and the Cubs started a 10-game homestand on a winning note.

Lester improved to 5-0 against the Phillies after getting knocked out in the third inning in a loss at San Francisco last week. The left-hander struck out seven, walked two and left to a loud ovation after Obudel Herrera doubled with one out in the seventh.

As Pedro Strop took his warmup pitches, heavy rain came and sent the ground crew rushing to cover the field.

The Phillies lost for the fifth time in seven games. And Morgan — who gave up six runs and eight hits — dropped his third straight start.

"He threw some good changeups, but quite a few bad ones," manager Pete Mackanin said. "He really didn't have command of any of his pitches."


The Cubs held slumping slugger Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward out of the lineup but still showed plenty of pop.

Soler, who came in with a .204 average, started the power display with his huge drive, and there was more of that when Ross knocked his homer off the second "N'' in the Nuveen sign. The veteran was so pumped up he even shimmied in the dugout after he circled the bases.

Bryant's drive to Waveland Avenue beyond the left-field bleachers was no less impressive. The home run was his fourth in seven games and 11th overall.

As for Ross?

"I run in the outfield before the game, and ever since I hit 99, all I hear is, 'Hit a homer — grandpa,'" he said.


Phillies: 3B Maikel Franco was back in the lineup and said "everything is good" after leaving with a sprained right ankle in the seventh of the Phillies' 8-5 win at Detroit on Wednesday. ... IF/OF Cody Asche (oblique strain) and LHP Mario Hollands (Tommy John elbow surgery) had their rehab assignments transferred to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. ... Mark Appel, the top pick in the 2013 draft, was placed on the DL with right shoulder strain at Lehigh Valley. Appel was acquired in the offseason from Houston for closer Ken Giles.

Cubs: Maddon said Heyward had no setbacks after playing Tuesday and Wednesday at St. Louis. He missed the previous three games because of a bruise on his right side near his ribs.


The Cubs send RHP Kyle Hendricks (2-4, 3.30 ERA) to the mound, with RHP Jerad Eickhoff (2-6, 3.86) starting for Philadelphia. Hendricks took the loss at San Francisco on Sunday despite holding the Giants to one run in 5 1/3 innings. Eickhoff pitched five-hit ball over seven innings in a 5-0 win over Atlanta on Sunday.