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Lead-er of the pack: Rizzo HR extends streak

Cubs slugger reaches safely for 7th straight game in 1st AB
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo is making it look easy. For the seventh straight game, Rizzo reached base in his first at-bat, this time with a leadoff home run in Tuesday night's 4-0 win over the Padres.

"Anthony did it again, jump-starting the offense," manager Joe Maddon said of Rizzo, who now has three leadoff home runs, a double, two singles and a walk since moving to the top of the order one week ago.

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CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo is making it look easy. For the seventh straight game, Rizzo reached base in his first at-bat, this time with a leadoff home run in Tuesday night's 4-0 win over the Padres.

"Anthony did it again, jump-starting the offense," manager Joe Maddon said of Rizzo, who now has three leadoff home runs, a double, two singles and a walk since moving to the top of the order one week ago.

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Video: Must C Crushed: Rizzo keeps rolling as leadoff hitter

The Cubs are now 5-2 with Rizzo leading off. He launched the second pitch from Padres starter Jhoulys Chacin to center for his 17th home run of the season, and Rizzo has yet to make an out in his first at-bat.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Rizzo and other #ASGWorthy players

"I was trying to go down and away, and the ball stayed down and in the middle," Chacin said. "He hit it well. He's been swinging the bat really well lately, and you have to execute better pitches to him."

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"It's funny," said Rizzo, who extended his hit streak to a career-high 14 games. "I'm sure my teammates are starting to get a little tired of it because I'm constantly in their ears, nonstop, telling them to make sure you don't miss it or 'Watch this.' It's all in good fun and I'm having fun with it."

Video: Rizzo is an on-base machine when he leads off

The home run was well struck, traveling a projected 432 feet with an exit velocity of 107 mph, according to Statcast™.

Rizzo joins Richie Ashburn as the only Cubs leadoff hitters to reach safely in seven straight games. Ashburn did it from June 28-July 3, 1960.

"Whenever you have your name on the board compared to Richie Ashburn, that's pretty significant," Maddon said.

Kyle Schwarber was projected as the Cubs' leadoff man this season, but he struggled, batting .185. Maddon has also inserted Ben Zobrist, Jon Jay, Ian Happ and Javier Baez at the top of the order.

"As long as we keep winning, I have no problem with it," Rizzo said. "I have no problem going back to third or fourth or wherever Joe feels is best for the club. The main thing is we keep winning."

When your leadoff man is batting .429 (12-for-28) with 10 RBIs in seven games, why change it?

"On a nightly basis, he's ready, he's chirpy, he's ready to go, and he's loving this," Maddon said. "He's helping us out incredibly."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chicago Cubs, Anthony Rizzo