Ivan DeJesus and Joe Lefebvre hit two-run homers and rookie Len Matuszek a solo homer to bring Philadelphia a victory in Chicago and reduce the Phillies' magic number for clinching the East to two games.
The victory eliminated the Montreal Expos from the pennant drive. The Phillies, winning their 11th straight game for their longest winning streak since 1977, helped John Denny become the league's first 18-game winner. Denny, who did not walk a man and struck out three, picked up his fifth consecutive win.
"I wasn't on like I'd like to be," Denny said after pitching eight innings. "I really battled, but I've been up and down a lot this season (due to recurring shoulder problems) and it's played on mind more than anything.
"But today I took a great stride towards keeping my head in the right place as we get closer to winning this thing."
With two out in the second, Cubs' loser Chuck Rainey (14-12) walked Bo Diaz and DeJesus followed with his fourth home run of the year into the left field bleachers for a 2-0 lead.
The Phillies announced that their game Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates has been moved from 7:05 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. to accommodate national television.