No rest for the raking Rizzo
MILWAUKEE -- Starlin Castro and Jorge Soler had Wednesday off, and Kris Bryant did not start on Thursday. Cubs manager Joe Maddon wants to give Anthony Rizzo a day off, too, but "It's on hold right now," Maddon said.
That's because Rizzo delivered a clutch three-run go-ahead homer with two outs in the eighth to power the Cubs to a 5-2 victory over the Brewers on Thursday night.
"The whole night, it wasn't going our way, but I liked the way we were playing," Maddon said. "Eventually, Riz steps up and does what he can do."
The home run was Rizzo's third hit of the game. He doubled off Jimmy Nelson to lead off the second and moved up on a wild pitch, but he was stranded when Nelson got Soler to ground out, struck out Castro and then induced an inning-ending groundout by David Ross.
"It's a little frustrating, just because you want to get a run early, give [starter Jake Arrieta] a little breathing room," Rizzo said. "All the guys grind, and every guy is giving his best up there. I've been up there plenty of times and not gotten the job done. You just turn the page and not get down about it and just keep playing."
Nelson limited the Cubs to two hits -- both by Rizzo -- over seven scoreless innings before exiting. The Cubs trailed, 2-0, in the eighth when Addison Russell and Dexter Fowler both singled off reliever Jeremy Jeffress, who was then lifted for Will Smith. Smith retired the next two batters, then Rizzo launched a 1-1 pitch to right for his 18th home run of the season and second in as many games.
"[Smith] started me off with a slider, made me look like an idiot," Rizzo said. "He threw me another one, and I saw it well. Then he threw a fastball, and it was over the middle of the plate. It feels good, but we needed that win."
The win was a good way to begin this junket. The Cubs now are 4-5 in the first game of a road trip.
"To win the first one is big," Rizzo said. "We've just got to keep playing good baseball."
The Cubs also are waiting to see if the front office makes a move prior to Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. Following the game the Cubs were third in the National League Wild Card standings behind the Pirates and Giants, both of whom made deals this week.
"It wouldn't completely surprise me if they made a move or didn't make a move," Arrieta said. "I think we can win with what we have here. We've got the pieces. We showed we can do it in stretches. If they decide to make a move, I'm sure they'll make a move that benefits our club."