Cubs' valiant comeback falls short

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Cubs' valiant comeback falls short

Roy Halladay threw eight strong innings for his first victory in a month and the Philadelphia Phillies held on for an 8-7 win over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night.Halladay (4-3) hadn't won since April 16, a span of five starts, and had lost three straight decisions to match a career high, but held the Cubs to three runs and scattered seven hits. The two-time Cy Young winner has allowed three earned runs or fewer in eight of his nine starts this season.Chicago's Welington Castillo's stroked a two-out, three-run double in the ninth against Phillies LHP Jake Diekman to close the gap to two runs. Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon came on and allowed an RBI single to Darwin Barney, but got Reed Johnson on a grounder to third for his 11th save of the season.While Halladay ended his modest skid, Cubs starter Chris Volstad (0-6) suffered his 19th straight start without a win. He lasted just two innings, allowing four runs, six hits and three walks. Volstad threw 58 pitches, a total Halladay didn't reach until there was one out in the sixth.Carlos Ruiz had his sixth career four-hit game and drove in three runs as the Phillies won a season-best fifth straight game. Jimmy Rollins had two hits, a walk and scored three runs. Hunter Pence added a two-run single.Philadelphia (20-19) moved over .500 for the first time since winning its season opener.The Cubs may have lost three straight, but Volstad hasn't won since July 10, 2011. He's gone 0-11 during his drought with a 5.40 ERA. His ERA rose to 7.46 for this season and it could have been worse -- the Phillies stranded five runners during his two innings.In addition to the bases-clearing double, Castillo homered and drove in a career-high four runs.Volstad's run support has been the lowest in baseball during his skid among pitchers with at least 15 starts, but his results have been increasingly poor in recent outings. He's allowed 15 runs over his last 17 innings, with 19 hits, eight walks and just four strikeouts.Halladay had lost five of his last six games against Chicago before dominating Thursday's game. He even chipped in with two hits and a run at the plate for his third career multi-hit game.Ruiz leads NL catchers with 27 RBIs and is 9 for 14 over his last four games. He even stole his first base of the season on the back end of a double steal in the first.Starlin Castro hit solo homers and drove in two runs for Chicago. David DeJesus had two hits and a run, extending his hitting streak to nine games.NOTES:
Phillies 2B Chase Utley reported no problems after taking grounders for the first time this season before Wednesday's game. Utley has spent the entire season on the disabled list because of patella tendinitis in his right knee. No timetable has been established for his return. . C Geovany Soto was a late scratch from the Cubs' lineup due left knee inflammation and was replaced by Castillo. Soto is listed as day-to-day. . Before the game, the Cubs selected the contract of RHP Blake Parker from Triple-A Iowa and optioned LHP Scott Maine to Iowa. Parker was 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in the minors and converted all five of his save opportunities. He made his debut in Thursday's game, striking out Ty Wigginton to begin his big-league career, but allowed three unearned runs on his own throwing error in the eighth. . Phillies 3B Placido Polanco sat out with a bruised left knee. He left Wednesday's game after fouling a pitch off his leg, something he's done several times over the last week.

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Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks battle Bruins tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks battle Bruins tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Boston Bruins tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Scott Darling gets the nod.

Joel Quenneville is giving a struggling Corey Crawford a breather tonight, electing to go with Darling in the final game of the father's road trip. Darling is 11-4-2 with a 2.34 goals against average, .924 save percentage and one shutout in 20 games this season. His numbers aren't as great on the road, where he is 4-2-1 with a 2.83 GAA and .901 save percentage compared to a 7-2-1 record with a 1.98 GAA and .928 save percentage at home, but he fared well against Boston last season. The Lemont native stopped 42 of 46 shots, good for a .913 save percentage, in a 6-4 win at the United Center last April.

2. The Panarin-Anisimov-Kane line.

The Blackhawks' trio of Artem Anisimov, Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin had a rare zero points in Tuesday's 6-4 win over Colorado, but don't expect to see that again. In fact, it could be the opposite. In their last meeting against the Bruins, a 6-4 win on April 3 during the 2015-16 season, they combined for 11 points (five goals, six assists), highlighted by a Kane hat trick that put him at 100 points on the season for the first time in his career. 

3. How the rookies build off a monsterous game.

In arguably the most well-rounded victory of the season Tuesday in Colorado, the Blackhawks had three rookies that had multi-point efforts. Vinnie Hinostroza had two goals, including the game winner. Tanner Kero had two goals and one assist, while Nick Schmaltz also had a goal and an assist. It was the top-six that was doing the heavy lifting earlier in the season, now the bottom-six is slowly starting to contribute on a consistent basis. The Blackhawks will be in great shape if they can confidently roll four lines that have the potential to find the back of the net on any given shift.

4. Patrice Bergeron vs. Jonathan Toews.

Two of the best two-way centers in the league will go head-to-head, and it's always a fun matchup to watch. Bergeron leads the league with 597 faceoff wins, and is ranked fifth with a 58.4 percentage at the dot while Toews ranks eighth in wins with 473 — despite missing nine games with a back injury — and sits at sixth with a 57.5 percentage. Both of the perennial Selke Trophy candidates have struggled offensively this season, with Bergeron recording only 21 points in 45 games and Toews with 22 points in 38 contests. Bergeron has been heating up as of late, though, scoring three goals and six assists in his last eight games. Bergeron also leads the league in possession numbers, with the Bruins controlling 61.9 percent of the even-strength shot attempts when he's on the ice.

5. Brad Marchand.

In September, Marchand inked an eight-year, $49 million deal and it's already paying dividends for the Bruins. He has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in his last eight games, and 45 points total, which is by far the most on his team and tied for sixth in the NHL. He's 16 points away from tying his career high of 61 set last season, with a little less than half the year to go. He's also had great success against the Blackhawks. In his last six games against Chicago, dating back to the 2013-14 campaign, he has registered at least a point in all of them, scoring four goals and adding five assists. To make life more difficult, he's a player that enjoys getting under people's skin, so expect him to be a big factor tonight.

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