PHILADELPHIA -- Even with a little extra help, which was ruled illegal, the Phillies couldn't stop the Cubs offense.
Kyle Hendricks pitched six strong innings, Javier Baez notched his NL-leading 99th RBI and star third baseman Kris Bryant doubled and had two hits in his return from the disabled list to lead Chicago past Philadelphia 7-1 on Saturday night.
Ian Happ homered and Baez had three hits for the NL Central-leading Cubs, who have won nine of 11. Chicago is ahead of St. Louis by 4 1/2 games.
"You look at the whole of the game, I thought we played really well," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Some good at-bats, some clutch moments. Up and down, I was really pleased."
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler was not happy, particularly when veteran umpire Joe West confiscated an information card from reliever Austin Davis in the eighth inning.
Kapler said Davis was using the card merely for information on the Cubs hitters. But West said it was illegal under Rule 6.02(c)(7), which states that the pitcher shall not have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance.
"I told him we don't allow him to carry anything on their glove, person or clothing except in some cases where there's a rain situation we allow them to put a rosin bag in their pocket," West, umpiring his 41st season, said. "Other than that they can't have anything on the pitcher."
The card didn't appear to help though, as Bryant singled to right on the first pitch after Davis consulted it. West then took it prior to Davis striking out pinch-hitter Addison Russell.
"I think it's actually a really good thing for baseball," Kapler said. "I don't really quite understand this one."
Bryant had been sidelined since July 23 with left shoulder inflammation. The 2016 NL MVP doubled and scored in the third in addition to singling in the eighth.
Hendricks (11-10) allowed one run on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
"Kyle was outstanding," Maddon said. "When they started getting something going, Kyle didn't change. The game did not speed up on him."
Nick Williams had two hits and an RBI for the Phillies, who fell three games back of Atlanta in the NL East.
The Cubs, helped by another Phillies error, scored a pair of runs in the first off Zach Eflin (9-6). Daniel Murphy led off with a double and reached on shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera's throwing error on Baez's infield single. Baez scored on Ben Zobrist's opposite-field double. It was the 104th error by Philadelphia, which entered second in the majors to St. Louis (105).
Chicago tacked on two more runs in the third to go up 4-0 on Kyle Swarber's two-out triple off the wall in left-center.
The Phillies got a run back in the fourth on Williams' RBI single before Happ's one-out solo shot to right made it a four-run game again.
Davis committed the Phillies' 105th error, a throwing miscue that led to two unearned runs in the ninth.
West called the league office after the game and admitted the use of the card may be in a gray area.
"I didn't want to throw him out," West said. "I know it's foreign but he's not trying to cheat. Maybe he's trying to get an advantage because he's reading the scouting report, but it wasn't pine tar, it wasn't an emery board, it wasn't whatever.
"In the long run, maybe they'll let him (have the card). Right now, my hands are tied until they say yes or now. Right now, until the office says it's OK to carry this, he can't do it."
Eflin gave up four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits with four strikeouts and one walk in five innings. The right-hander continued to struggle since being demoted to Triple-A following his Aug. 10 start at San Diego, dropping to 1-2 with a 6.20 ERA while allowing 32 hits in 20 1/3 innings. The move was made not due to performance, but to allow the Phillies to add a bat.
However, neither Kapler nor Eflin attributed his recent struggles to the roster move.
"I don't think there's any correlation there," Kapler said.
Philadelphia's Roman Quinn grounded out pinch-hitting in the fifth, snapping a nine-game hitting streak. Quinn still is batting .405 with two doubles, three triples, a homer and five RBI over his last 10 contests.
Cubs: Russell, out since Aug. 20 with a left middle finger sprain, was activated from the DL. He struck out in the eighth.
Phillies RHP Aaron Nola (15-3, 2.10) was bumped up from his scheduled start on Monday to face Cubs LHP Jon Lester (14-5, 3.67) in a marquee pitching matchup to wrap up the three-game series on Sunday.
Corey Kluber has piled up accolades during his eight seasons in the majors.
Minutes after the St. Louis Cardinals coughed up a lead and lost on July 14 to the Cincinnati Reds to drop to 47-46, manager Mike Matheny said they had a good run in them.
The Oakland Athletics will travel to Seattle with a little extra luggage.
When Cole Hamels joined the Chicago Cubs earlier this season, the veteran starter didn't expect he would take on such a vital role.
A Comerica Park food service worker was been fired after a video was posted online allegedly showing him spitting on a pizza.
From the difference between teams at the top of the standings and those at the bottom to the number of balls in play, it has been a historic season in the majors.