CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo grounded a single to right field for his 1,000th career hit in the third inning of the Cubs' 9-4 loss to the Nationals on Saturday at Wrigley Field. The single advanced Albert Almora Jr. to third with nobody out and Chicago trailing, 3-0."It's not easy to
CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo grounded a single to right field for his 1,000th career hit in the third inning of the Cubs' 9-4 loss to the Nationals on Saturday at Wrigley Field. The single advanced Albert Almora Jr. to third with nobody out and Chicago trailing, 3-0.
"It's not easy to get a hit in this game, ever, so to be able to do that is very special," Rizzo said. "Obviously, it's a nice milestone, but I wanted to pick up the 'W' today as well."
Rizzo's first career hit, a triple off Livan Hernandez, also came against the Nationals, on June 9, 2011, while he was playing with the Padres. It was his first Major League game. Of Rizzo's first 1,000 knocks, 982 came with the Cubs.
The 29-year-old first baseman has been on fire in the 26 games since he became the Cubs' leadoff hitter, a move that was originally designed to be only temporary.
However, he's performed so well batting first, manager Joe Maddon has had little choice but to keep him there. Rizzo is batting .358 (34-for-95) with six doubles, one triple and five homers since he moved to the leadoff spot on July 13. Rizzo was hit by a pitch in the first inning Saturday to extend his on-base streak to 15 games.
"I thought it was pretty neat that it came out of the one-hole, too," Maddon said. "He's still working great at-bats up there." His recent surge has featured personal milestones other than his 1,000th hit. Last Saturday vs. the Padres, Rizzo recorded his 182nd home run with the Cubs, passing Alfonso Soriano for 11th most in franchise history.
Rizzo also played in his 1,000th career game on July 26, which he capped off with a walk-off home run against the D-backs at Wrigley.
After the Cubs' fell behind 9-1 in the fourth inning, Rizzo batted once more, when he flied out in the fifth, before he was given the rest of the afternoon off.
"He's got many more [hits] to come," Maddon said. "He's still a young man. There's no telling how many he's going to end up with. His baseball-hitting acumen is really high. He works good at-bats. He's willing to concede different things during the course of an at-bat. "It's really fun to watch him play."
Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.