6/10 Cubs 7, Pirates 3
Could Anthony Rizzo be an All-Star? He’s on a good run lately. Rizzo had three hits, including a two-run homer off southpaw Francisco Liriano, and pinch-hitter Luis Valbuena smacked a tie-breaking two-run double in the sixth to lift the Cubs to a 7-3 victory Tuesday night over the Pirates and spoil Gregory Polanco’s coming out party.
Rizzo is now batting .344 (21-for-61) with five home runs and 15 RBIs off southpaws this season. He connected on his 13th home run with one out in the first, and his other two hits, both doubles, came off right-handers. It’s quite a turnaround after last season when he batted .189 against left-handers, hitting seven home runs.
“I just feel very confident and that’s everything in this game,” Rizzo said. “I don’t care what anyone says. Whether your mechanics are good or bad, if you’re feeling confident at the plate, it makes a huge difference.”
Travis Wood got the win, giving up three runs over 6 2/3 innings. The Pirates rallied to tie the game twice. But with one out in the Chicago sixth, Starlin Castro walked and Justin Ruggiano was hit by a pitch for the second straight at-bat. Valbuena hit the first pitch into the gap in right center to go ahead, 5-3. Rizzo added a RBI double in the seventh that Polanco had trouble catching up to. Rizzo then tallied on Castro’s single for a 7-3 lead.
Although he has yet to appear in the top five in the National League balloting, the Cubs could make a case for Rizzo to be their All-Star representative on July 15.
“The first basemen in this league, they’re all All-Stars,” Rizzo said. “I’ll just keep playing my game and not let it affect me.”
— Carrie Muskat