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

5 Comments

I really like the attitude and the fire in this guy. Last year he just seemed beat and he’s a totally different player. So glad to see it.

I don`t see any mention here of the error Starlin made on a routine grounder which should have led to a double play. It is a given that major leaguers make the routine plays. Why can`t this guy do so? Is why he`s a better fit in the outfield.

Good Morning jhosk – that was Castro’s 10th error. Unfortunate. Luckily Valbueno and Barney executed a fine double play on the next hit! Possible game saver! Please keep me posted on your Virginia team in Omaha! :))

You are so right, White. That double play subsequent to Starlin`s miscue meant no harm was done. His teammates picked him up. Sorry to hear of that school shooting near Portland yesterday. Those incidents are far too common. Thanks for your interest in the Hoos. They play Ole Miss Sunday at 5:00 PM your time.

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