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Phillies keep cruising

Fireworks brought fans to the game, Tug McGraw brought them to their feet and the Phillies' bats sent them home happy.

Placido Polanco had three hits and three RBIs and Brett Myers pitched into the seventh inning, leading Philadelphia to a 12-2 victory over the Cubs on Thursday night.

The Phillies have won 13 of 16, including eight of nine, to cut Atlanta's lead in the East to 4{ games.

"We played an outstanding series against a team with great pitching," Phillies manager Larry Bowa said.

Damian Miller hit a two-run homer for the Cubs, who have lost seven of nine.

"This is no time for fragile psyches. It's time to toughen up," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.

Jim Thome was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Marlon Byrd went 3-for-3 with two walks as the Phillies had 14 hits.

Myers allowed two runs and eight hits in 6 innings to win his third start in a row. Rheal Cormier got five outs, increasing his scoreless streak to 16 innings.

Chicago starter Carlos Zambrano allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings. Zambrano had a 2.73 ERA in his previous nine starts.

A crowd of 57,326 turned out for the postgame fireworks at Veterans Stadium. It was the third-largest crowd of the season for the Phillies.

After the Cubs batted in the sixth, the fans gave an ovation to McGraw, a former Phillies and Mets reliever who is recovering from surgery to remove a malignant brain tumor, when he went out to rightfield and changed the sign on the wall indicating the number of games remaining at the Vet.

The Phillies are moving into a new stadium in April, and several former players and other baseball personnel have changed the sign this season.

"The last time I had anything like that was in 1980 with a little help from Willie Wilson," said McGraw, who struck out Kansas City's Wilson to clinch the Phillies' only championship. "That's as good as it gets, especially for a retired guy."

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