Phillies’ Trea Turner aims to extend hot streak vs. Cubs

Trea Turner hit more than 20 homers in each of the past two seasons, but he’s never been known as a slugger during his standout career.

But in the short term, Philadelphia will take power from any source it can find. That includes Turner, who will look to follow a two-homer game when the Phillies visit the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.

Turner hit 861 feet of homers in Philadelphia’s 6-4 victory over the Cubs in Tuesday’s opener of the three-game series. That gives Turner five homers in 46 games this season.

But the timing was great since Bryce Harper (hamstring) and Kyle Schwarber (groin) joined J.T. Realmuto (knee) on the 10-day injured list last week. Harper has a team-best 20 homers and Schwarber has 17.

Turner, who went 3-for-5 with four RBIs on Tuesday, hit a 422-foot solo blast into the stands in left center in the third inning.

In the fifth, Turner walloped a fastball 439 feet, a two-run homer that cleared the stands in left onto Waveland Avenue. He added an RBI single in the seventh to record his second straight three-hit game and fourth multi-hit game in his past six outings.

Turner is 11-for-27 (.407) during the stretch. But he certainly wasn’t thinking about hitting homers when he stepped into the batter’s box.

“It’s that fine line of trying to make an impact but not trying to do too much,” Turner said. “A few days ago, I was trying a little too hard. Now, I feel the swing is getting there. I was getting good pitches to hit and just not missing them.”

The Phillies have won seven of their past 10 games and stand a season-high 27 games above .500.

Chicago, meanwhile, is heading in the other direction with seven setbacks in its past nine games.

The Cubs were dangerously close to being held to two hits for the second straight game.

Chicago had just two hits over the first eight innings Tuesday and saw 16 hitters go down in order before striking for three runs in the ninth on two singles and Seiya Suzuki’s 11th homer of the season.

Suzuki and Cody Bellinger each had two hits while the rest of the Cubs combined for one hit.

Last-place Chicago suddenly is eight games below .500 and 12 games behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central.

“Disappointing, for sure,” Bellinger said. “We all had high expectations. I think overall, we still do. Today, I thought we put some good swings on the ball. Just some bad breaks, it looked like. We’ve got to keep on fighting.”

The Cubs will face a challenge Wednesday with Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler (9-4, 2.73 ERA) taking the mound.

Wheeler, 34, is 9-1 since losing his first three decisions this season. He’s a front-runner for the NL Cy Young Award with the season just past the midway point.

Wheeler received a no-decision against the Miami Marlins on Thursday when he gave up two runs and seven hits over 6 2/3 innings of a 7-4 loss.

But Wheeler has struggled against the Cubs. He is 1-2 with a 4.59 ERA in six career starts against them.

The Cubs will start left-hander Shota Imanaga (7-2, 3.07 ERA), who is one of the top NL Rookie of the Year candidates.

Imanaga, 30, had a 1.89 ERA through 13 starts for the Cubs before getting hammered for 10 hits and 11 hits — including three homers — in three-plus innings in a loss against the New York Mets on June 21.

He followed with a no-decision against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday, when he allowed three runs and five hits over six innings in a 5-3 win in extra innings.

–Field Level Media