In what may be the worst wild-card race baseball has ever seen, Philadelphia is making a mockery of mediocrity.
The Phillies climbed to .500 on Monday night with a 6-5 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, keeping them in the thick of a race in which even the weakest survive.
Jon Lieber and three relievers but failed to come up with the big one, losing for the third time in four games.
Earlier this season, the Cubs gave up two runs on a sacrifice fly in one loss, and two runs on a wild pitch in another. Continuing that trend, they allowed two runs on a grounder to short in the Phillies' four-run fourth.
With runners on second and third and one out in the fourth, rookie Rich Hill induced Abraham Nunez to ground to Ronny Cedeno, who'd moved from second to short at the start of the inning when Cesar Izturis strained his right hamstring.
Cedeno's throw to the plate hit Pat Burrell as he scored the first run, and Aaron Rowand scored the second run as the ball rolled toward the brick wall.
Manager Dusty Baker said Cedeno should have conceded the run with Lieber up next.
"Not a very good decision, going home with that ball," Baker said.
Hill failed to regroup, serving up a two-out, two-run homer to Jimmy Rollins and a solo shot to Chase Utley in the fifth to make it 5-0.
The Cubs knocked Lieber out of the game with a three-run seventh and then pulled within a run on Jacque Jones' two-run blast off Arthur Rhodes in the ninth.
But Michael Barrett fouled out with the tying run on to end it.
"Funny game," Hill said, though no one in the Cubs' clubhouse was laughing afterward.
The Cubs may lose Izturis to the disabled list. Izturis was listed as day to day with the hamstring that has troubled him at times this season.
Nunez had two RBIs, one game after he had a career-high-tying four against Washington.
At least the Cubs avoided the fate of the Phillies' Aaron Rowand, who was injured in a nasty collision.
"That was probably the worst I've seen in a long time," Baker said.
Phillies 6, Cubs 5