9/16 Rizzo’s big day
Anthony Rizzo checked off a couple more items on his big league bucket list Sunday. The rookie first baseman belted his first Major League grand slam, notched his first multi-homer game, drove in a career-high six runs, and made his first curtain call, powering the Cubs to a 13-9 come from behind victory over the Pirates.
“Everything he’s done here has been what we expected,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “We don’t expect any more or any less. He’s been spectacular since he’s been here.”
Promoted from Triple-A Iowa on June 26, Rizzo is batting .300 with 14 home runs and 43 RBIs. He was leading the Pacific Coast League in nearly every offensive category when called up, hitting 23 home runs, 18 doubles, and batting .342. You do the math.
“The combination of what he’s done in Triple-A and here is pretty impressive,” Sveum said. “He went into a little lull there and figured some things out, and realized that he wasn’t going to be [Tony] Campana, that he was going to be Anthony Rizzo up here.”
Rizzo hit a two-run homer in the fifth and belted his go-ahead slam in a five-run sixth to help the Cubs reduce their magic number to five. Five more wins, and Chicago will avoid a 100-loss season, which the franchise has not done since 1966.
“I don’t think [the slam] tops the walkoff [July 29 vs. the Cardinals] but it was a great game, well fought by all of us, all 25 or all 40 of us,” Rizzo said. “We’re showing some resilience.”
The rookie first baseman is the first Cubs player with six RBIs in a game since Aramis Ramirez did so July 20, 2010, against the Astros.
After his slam, Rizzo stood on the dugout step, and acknowledged the fans.
“I didn’t realize that’s what you do,” he said of the curtain call. “That was pretty cool.”
— Carrie Muskat