5/31 Cubs 8, Brewers 0
One day after getting a breather for the first time this season, Anthony Rizzo crushed a pair of two-run homers on Saturday to back Jason Hammel and lift the Cubs to an 8-0 victory over the Brewers in front of a sellout crowd of 42,332 at Miller Park.
Hammel continued his love affair with Miller Park. When he most recently pitched here on April 27, he did not give up a hit until one out into the sixth. The Brewers didn’t wait that long Saturday, collecting a single with two outs in the first, but they mustered only four hits off the right-hander over seven innings.
“He set the tone and gave us seven really, really good innings,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “He kept the ball down, mixed up his pitches, very calm, very poised. He’s a veteran. He commands his emotions and is very meticulous in his preparations and just attacks the hitters.”
Whether the right-hander will still be pitching for the Cubs after the Trade Deadline remains to be seen.
“I know my own value,” Hammel said. “My value is here for the Cubs and that’s the way I see it. I’m not going to play into the trade talk — it is what it is. The only way you can’t get traded in baseball is if you have a no-trade clause. It can happen to anybody.”
Rizzo apparently benefitted from the respite. Emilio Bonifacio singled to lead off the Chicago fourth, and he was safe at second on Junior Lake’s grounder despite a challenge from Roenicke. Rizzo then smacked a 3-2 pitch from Wily Peralta into the right-field seats for his ninth homer and a 2-0 lead.
“Having a day off is kind of weird,” he said. “I didn’t know what to do with myself.”
He knew what to do at the plate. Hammel singled to lead off the Chicago sixth, and two outs later, Rizzo launched his second homer of the game, again off a 3-2 pitch from Peralta, to put the Cubs ahead, 4-0. It was Rizzo’s fifth career multihomer game and his first since Aug. 21 against the Nationals.
Starlin Castro followed Rizzo with a double, and Nate Schierholtz walked to chase Peralta. Zach Duke took over and served up RBI singles to Chris Coghlan and Baker, as well as an RBI double to Barney as Chicago opened a 7-0 lead.
– Carrie Muskat