Rizzo Leads Cubs Past Pirates, Orioles Beat Cardinals


Published on June 19 2017 6:21 am
Last Updated on June 19 2017 6:28 am


Anthony Rizzo hardly looks like a typical leadoff hitter. The Chicago Cubs' 6-foot-3, 240-pound first baseman isn't much of a stolen base threat and he doesn't exactly motor down the line. But there's more than one way to challenge opposing pitchers, and Rizzo has done just that when batting first.

Against the Pirates on Sunday, Rizzo homered among his three hits to lead Chicago to a 7-1 victory. The defending World Series champions took two of three in Pittsburgh and improved to 34-34.

Rizzo opened the game with a double and scored in the first inning. He singled and scored in the third, then hit a two-run homer in the seventh. The home run was Rizzo's 16th of the year, surpassing Kris Bryant for the team lead.

Not bad for a leadoff man.

"It's crazy," Rizzo said. "It's weird. It's funny. But it's great. ... If we win ballgames, I'll be the leadoff hitter for the rest of my career. It's all about winning. I'll just say it's different."

Since manager Joe Maddon moved Rizzo to the leadoff spot last Tuesday, he's hitting .409 with three home runs and two doubles in five games.

"Gosh, the way he started the game again and got the momentum rolling," Maddon said. "I think he likes doing it. He likes the idea of getting that extra at-bat."

Cubs starter John Lackey (5-7) allowed two hits and struck out four over six innings. Lackey kept the ball on the ground and kept the Pirates off balance all day.

"He was just locating," Pittsburgh shortstop Jordy Mercer said. "His fastball was really good. He doesn't throw as hard as he used to, but it doesn't matter if you locate. If you locate consistently and make guys expand a little bit when you need to, that always works."

Carl Edwards Jr., Hector Rondon and Brian Duensing completed the three-hitter for the Cubs.

Willson Contreras drove in three runs with a pair of doubles, and Jon Jay had three hits with an RBI and scored twice. Ian Happ added a solo homer in the ninth, his eighth of the season.

The first four Chicago runs came against Jameson Taillon (3-2), who made his second start since returning from surgery to treat testicular cancer. Taillon gave up eight hits in five innings while striking out four.

Mercer homered leading off the fifth.

Orioles 8, Cardinals 5

Ubaldo Jimenez walked off the mound to a standing ovation, a rare reception for the beleaguered Baltimore Orioles' right-hander.

Jimenez was stellar in his first start since May 22, Mark Trumbo homered for the second consecutive day and the Orioles took a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals with a 8-5 victory Sunday.

"He knew what we needed and he delivered it," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said about Jimenez. "We basically had a day game yesterday and we're in a stretch with 20-21 games in a row. Real proud of everybody today. There was a lot of intensity there."

Baltimore homered 10 times while winning two of three from the Cardinals to improve to .500 (34-34). It was the first time the Orioles won a three-game series since May 29-31 against the Yankees.

Jimenez (2-2) has struggled most of the season and relinquished his starting role to Alec Asher, who also failed to hold down the job. Jimenez will likely stay in the rotation after allowing just two runs on four hits with three strikeouts and two walks over seven innings.

"I just want to fight," Jimenez said. "Doesn't matter where I am, I'm going to try to do the best I can. It felt good to be able to be there for the team today."

Seth Smith and Trey Mancini homered to start the first and second innings, respectively, for Baltimore. Welington Castillo also had a solo shot in the fifth that gave the Orioles a 7-2 lead.

Brad Brach picked up his 12th save for Baltimore.

Dexter Fowler homered for the fourth consecutive game with a two-run shot in the eighth, and three batters later, Yadier Molina had solo home run that pulled the Cardinals to 8-5.

Stephen Piscotty also hit a pair of solo homers for the Cardinals, who have lost five of six.

"We need to get the ball in the air and they were able to keep us from doing it on a consistent basis," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

St. Louis' Lance Lynn (5-4) allowed seven runs and nine hits with five strikeouts and a career-high four home runs over 4 2/3 innings.

"It's baseball," Lynn said. "You go through times when it's going well and times when it's going better than you think."

Manny Machado's RBI single in the sixth gave Baltimore an 8-2 lead.

Blue Jays 7, White Sox 3

Though Russell Martin isn't among the home run leaders, he certainly makes them count.

The veteran catcher hit a game-tying homer in the sixth inning to help rally the Toronto Blue Jays to a 7-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

Of Martin's seven home runs, five have either tied the game or given Toronto the lead.

"Timing is everything," he said of his two-run drive that bounced off the top of the center-field fence and chased Chicago starter James Shields from the game.

Ryan Goins' first triple of the season two batters later drove in the winning run.

The win snapped Chicago's three-game winning streak and prevented the White Sox from tying a club record with a seventh consecutive win at Rogers Centre. The White Sox have won nine of the last 11 games and the last four series against the Blue Jays.

Kendrys Morales added a monster home run in the bat-around seventh, a moon shot into the fourth deck of Rogers Centre to give the Blue Jays their 27th multi-home run game of the season. Toronto is 19-8 in those games.

"That's kind of our DNA," Martin said. "We love the long ball. Kind of built that way."

J.A. Happ (2-4) picked up his first home win of the season. In his second-longest start, the left-hander giving up eight hits over 6 2/3 innings while striking out nine. Roberto Osuna worked the ninth.

"The White Sox were playing a great series, played really good defense," Happ said. "I was just trusting we would do the same and grind back in that ball game and the huge sixth inning there was awesome, Russ with the big hit and we kept going."

In his first start since April 16, Shields lasted 5 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and three runs, including the two-run shot from Martin that ended his afternoon. Anthony Swarzak (3-2) took the loss.

Shields tipped his cap to Martin on the tying homer.

"I left it up a little bit but it was off the plate a little bit too and he put a good swing on it and unfortunately it hit the top the wall," he said.

Melky Cabrera singled and doubled for his seventh multi-hit effort in the last 11 games, while Jose Abreu drove in two runs to extend his hit streak to seven games, marking the fifth consecutive game he has registered at least one RBI.

Despite the loss, manager Rick Renteria was optimistic after witnessing his club post consecutive series victories.

"I know we're swinging the bats a little better," he said. "It's like anything, you get into little grooves and obviously we've been in the groove the last six or seven days."

Sunday, June 18 Scoreboard

Toronto 7, Chicago White Sox 3

Tampa Bay 9, Detroit 1

Los Angeles Dodgers 8, Cincinnati 7

New York Mets 5, Washington 1

Chicago Cubs 7, Pittsburgh 1

Baltimore 8, St. Louis 5

Atlanta 5, Miami 4

Arizona 5, Philadelphia 4 (F/10)

Milwaukee 2, San Diego 1

Cleveland 5, Minnesota 2

Seattle 7, Texas 3

Colorado 7, San Francisco 5

Kansas City 7, Los  Angeles Angels 3

Oakland 4, New York Yankees 3

Boston 6, Houston 5

Monday, June 19 Schedule (All Times Central)

Cleveland at Baltimore, 6:05 p.m.

Washington at Miami, 6:10 p.m.

Cincinnati at Tampa Bay, 6:10 p.m.

San Francisco at Atlanta, 6:35 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Milwaukee 6:40 p.m.

Toronto at Texas, 7:05 p.m.

San Diego at Chicago Cubs, 7:05 p.m.

Boston at  Kansas City, 7:15 p.m.

Detroit at Seattle, 9 p.m.

Houston at Oakland, 9:05 p.m.

New York Mets at Los Angeles Dodgers, 9:10 p.m.