The bats roared to life over the past three games as the Phils plated 18 runs against the Cubs and won all three. Utley had a fantastic series for the Phils, going 4-for-8 with two doubles and a home run in the last two games, and Howard was huge with the bat yesterday, going 3-for-3 and driving in three of the four runs scored by the Phils.

Friday the Phils won 7-5. After a two-run homer by Brown in the second and a seventh-inning grand slam by Polanco helped give the Phils a 7-0 lead, the Phils managed to hold off Contreras and the Cubs in the last two innings. Chicago scored four times in the top of the eighth, with four runs charged to Contreras, who got just one out in the game. Bastardo struck Carlos Pena out as the tying run to end the game and earn his second save of the season.

Lee held the Cubs to a run over eight innings on Saturday as the Phils won 7-1. Utley had a monster day, going 2-for-5 with a double, a two-run homer and four RBI. Victorino chipped in with three hits of his own, including a double.

Yesterday the Phils won 4-3 behind Oswalt, who pitched great after a miserable first inning, and Howard’s big day with the bat.

The Phillies are 40-26 on the year after beating the Chicago Cubs 4-3 yesterday afternoon. The Phils take the four-game set three games to one. The remain in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Braves by two games. The third-place Marlins have fallen seven games behind the Phils.

Oswalt got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out five. After allowing three runs in the first inning on four hits, he allowed a single, two walks and no runs over the next six innings.

He struck Kosuke Fukudome out to start the game, but Darwin Barney followed that with a single to right. Starlin Castro was next and hit a ball that landed just fair down the left field line for a double. Barney scored and Chicago led 1-0. Carlos Pena popped to Rollins for the second out, but Aramis Ramirez hit a 1-0 pitch out left. 3-0. Blake DeWitt singled into center and was left there when Tyler Colvin popped to short.

It was 3-1 when Oswalt set the Cubs down in order in the second. He got Koyie Hill on a ground ball to first, pitcher Doug Davis on a grounder to short and Fukudome on a fly ball to center.

Pena singled to right with two outs in the third, but Oswalt got Ramirez on a fly ball to right for the third out.

DeWitt started the fourth with the lead cut to 3-2 and hit a ball to Rollins that Rollins didn’t handle for an error. Colvin flew to center for the first out before Hill walked on a 3-2 pitch. Davis tried to bunt the runners along, but Oswalt handled it and threw to third to force the lead runner DeWitt for the second out. With two outs and men on first and second, Fukudome flew to right, leaving both runners stranded.

Oswalt walked Pena with two outs in the fifth, but got Ramirez on a pop to Utley for the third out.

He set the Cubs down in order in the sixth and again in the seventh.

Up 4-3, Stutes pitched the eighth. He struck out Pena and Ramirez while setting Chicago down in order.

Stutes lowered his ERA on the year to 2.41 after 21 appearances.

Madson started the ninth and got the first two before Hill singled to right. It brought pitcher John Grabow to the plate as the tying run. Righty Geovany Soto, who tied game one of the series with a ninth-inning home run off of Madson, hit for Grabow. DJ LeMahieu ran for Hill at first. Soto popped a 2-2 pitch into shallow right field. Brown didn’t have a chance to get there, but Utley made a great running catch to snare it and end the game.

Neither Madson nor Stutes have pitched more than one day in a row. Both should be fine for Tuesday with the off-day today. Madson threw 17 pitches and Stutes ten.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Doug Davis went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Francisco (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Francisco in right with Brown on the bench. Polanco gets the day off with Valdez at third and Victorino hitting second. Ibanez stays in the lineup against the lefty.

Down 3-0, Rollins singled to center to start the bottom of the first and was forced at second for the first out when Victorino followed with a ground ball to short. Utley moved Victorino to third with a single before Howard blasted a double off of the wall in straight away center. Victorino scored to cut the lead to 3-1 with Utley held at third. Francisco walked to load the bases, but Ibanez struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out and Ruiz lined to third.

No more runs for the Phils after loading the bases with one out. Ibanez can’t put the ball in play and the Phils can’t bring the runner in from third with less than two outs.

Howard still doesn’t have a home run against lefties on the year. He came close there. He’s hitting 259/315/365 against them for the year. He’s on pace to hit about 32 home runs against righties this year and none against lefties.

The Phils went in order in the second.

Utley walked with one out in the third and moved to third on a single by Howard. Francisco followed that with his second walk of the game, loading the bases for Ibanez. Ibanez singled into right and everyone moved up a base with Utley scoring. 3-2. Ruiz struck out swinging for the second out. Valdez grounded to second for the third.

Second time in three innings the Phils leave the bases loaded. Second time in three innings they strike out with one out and a man on third.

Before walking twice in the first three innings, Francisco came in the game having walked in 11.9% of his plate appearances for the year. That’s the best mark of his career and way better than his career mark of 8.3%. If only he could get a hit.

Victorino walked with two outs in the fourth, but Utley flew to left behind him.

Howard walked to start the fifth and moved to second on a ground out by Francisco, but Ibanez and Ruiz both struck out to leave him at second.

The Phils went in order in the sixth. Manuel was ejected for arguing balls and strikes as Oswalt struck out looking.

Victorino was hit by a pitch to start the seventh and went to third when Utley followed and ripped a double. Howard dribbled a single to the right of second and into center, scoring both runners and putting the Phils up 4-3. With lefty Sean Marshall pitching, Polanco hit for Francisco and popped to Pena for the first out. Ibanez grounded to second with Howard forced at second for the second out. Ruiz struck out to leave Ibanez at first.

The Phils went in order in the eighth. Brown, who took over for Francisco in right after Polanco hit for Francisco in the seventh, grounded to second for the second out.

Rollins was 1-for-5 in the game and 2-for-18 with four walks in the four-game set. He’s hitting 256/331/356 on the season.

Victorino 0-for-2 with a walk yesterday. 6-for-15 with a double and two walks in the series. 280/353/472 for the season.

Utley 2-for-3 with a walk and a double. 6-for-17 with two doubles and a home run in the series. He also walked three times and drove in four runs. He came into the series with three extra-base hits for the season and doubled that in the four-game set. 261/370/420 on the year in 81 plate appearances.

Howard was 3-for-3 with a double and drove in three of the four runs the Phillies scored in the game. 4-for-13 with a double and five RBI in the series. He also walked five times. He came in to last night’s game 2-for-his-last-18. 247/336/474 for the year.

Francisco 0-for-1 with two walks. 0-for-3 with two walks in the series. 220/338/372 for the year. 172/304/310 against lefties for the season. Brown 0-for-1 yesterday and 1-for-11 with two walks and a homer in the series. He’s 1-for-his-last-18 and hitting 235/312/397 in 77 plate appearances for the season.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with an RBI. 6-for-16 with a walk and two doubles in the series. 250/300/419 for the year. 302/331/537 since the end of April.

Ruiz was 0-for-4, struck out three times and left eight men on base. He lined to third with the bases loaded in the first (3), struck out with the bases loaded in the third (6), struck out with Howard on second in the fifth (7) and struck out with Ibanez on first in the seventh (8). 3-for-12 with two walks in the series. He’s hitting 243/360/340 for the year.

Valdez 0-for-4 yesterday in his only action in the series. He’s hitting 240/279/295 for the year. Polanco was 0-for-1 yesterday and 3-for-14 with a walk and a grand slam in the series.

No game today. Marlins tomorrow for the first of four. Then the Mariners (of course).