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Rizzo picks up Cubs with clutch double in 10th

Bases-clearing knock helps North Siders overcome 13th blown save

ANAHEIM -- Anthony Rizzo made the Cubs' long, quick trip west worth it.

Rizzo smacked a three-run double with two outs in the 10th inning to power the Cubs to an 8-6 victory over the Angels on Wednesday night and split the brief Interleague series at Angel Stadium.

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ANAHEIM -- Anthony Rizzo made the Cubs' long, quick trip west worth it.

Rizzo smacked a three-run double with two outs in the 10th inning to power the Cubs to an 8-6 victory over the Angels on Wednesday night and split the brief Interleague series at Angel Stadium.

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"We had a chance to sweep here and we lost a heartbreaker yesterday, and to come back today and play a good game, a clean game, and get the win, it's really nice," Rizzo said.

Mark Trumbo had tied the game with a solo homer in the Angels' eighth off James Russell and also hit another in the 10th off Kevin Gregg to make it interesting. Rizzo delivered in the 10th.

With the game tied at 5 and one out against Robert Coello, Dioner Navarro walked and was lifted for pinch-runner Julio Borbon. One out later, Darwin Barney singled and Luis Valbuena walked to load the bases for Rizzo, who lined a 2-1 fastball to right to clear them.

"Like I said, an inch more and we have a ground ball," Coello said. "That's crazy, but that's how it went."

Rizzo now has driven in a run in six of his last 12 games and has eight extra-base hits in his last 10.

"That was huge," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Rizzo's game-winner. "Hopefully, that springboards him into getting really hot."

The Cubs are counting on Rizzo, which is one of the reasons they gave him a seven-year, $41 million contract extension last month.

"He's always a threat and he's young," Cubs starter Matt Garza said. "It'll be fun to watch him grow up a little bit. He's going to do great things. What was it -- two outs, bases juiced and they want to pitch to this guy? Sooner or later, it'll be bases juiced and [teams will say], 'We'll just pitch around him and hopefully he chases.' It's fun to watch."

Rizzo was just happy to get the ball out of the infield. He'd grounded out to Trumbo in his first four at-bats.

"Even in the ninth, when [Ernesto] Frieri was in, I was trying to tie a record of hitting another ball to first base and ground out five times to first base," Rizzo said. "They made good pitches on me. You come in and get the hit there and get the big hit at the end. I want to be up in every situation, whether I'm 0-for-4 or 4-for-4."

He was joking about the record but not about being up in clutch situations.

The Cubs' right-handed bats, Cody Ransom and Ryan Sweeney, helped open a 5-4 lead, but the Angels' comeback spoiled Garza's chance at the win. This was Garza's fourth start since coming off the disabled list, and he threw a season-high 103 pitches over 6 1/3 innings. The Angels attacked first as Howie Kendrick hit a two-run homer in the second.

"They're a dangerous team, no matter what their record is," Garza said. "They have their thumpers in the lineup and you have to be careful with every hitter."

The Cubs added a run in the third, but Chris Iannetta and J.B. Shuck both hit RBI singles in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead. In the Chicago fifth, Navarro and Barney both singled, and Ransom tied the game with his home run, driving the first pitch from Jason Vargas into the corner seats in left.

"The difference was the homer to Cody Ransom," Vargas said. "I feel like I made a dumb mistake. We were up three runs and I decided to go after him like it was a pretty close ballgame. Three runs isn't a huge lead but definitly a mental mistake on my part."

Sweeney gave the Cubs a 5-4 lead with an RBI single in the sixth. The Angels then threatened in the seventh and had runners at the corners with two outs, aided by an error on Nate Schierholtz, who lost Shuck's fly ball in the sun. Russell entered and got Albert Pujols to line out to Sweeney, who made a diving catch in center.

"I didn't think I could get the ball at first," Sweeney said. "I knew the importance of that run on third base. I just ran all out to see if I could get it and luckily I caught it before it hit the ground."

It also was nice to keep Pujols in check after he hit Tuesday's game-winning two-run homer in the eighth.

Garza wasn't happy about being pulled but lost his argument.

"I think [Sveum] was pretty set when he came out there," Garza said. "That half-inning before, I got a lot of questions about how I felt, so I knew it was a short leash. That's why I was so upset. I would've petitioned and I don't have too much of a fight out there."

Sweeney and Ransom are part of Sveum's platoon against left-handed starters.

"Ransom's been doing a nice job all year against left-handers, and Sweeney, every time he starts, he does something or something off the bench," Sveum said. "Now that we're getting to see more, we can see he's a top-notch quality outfielder like everybody told us he was."

Trumbo spoiled the mood when he led off the eighth with his 14th homer to tie the game at 5. It was the 13th blown save by the Cubs this season, most in the National League. It's been a recurring theme.

"The guys on the field, they get tired of beating a team for six, seven innings and there's a home run to win it or tie it or lose it later," Sveum said. "That's the good thing about American League games is that you can do things with your pitching that you can't do in the National League."

Playing by American League rules helped. Sveum could leave Russell and Gregg in the game longer rather than needing to lift them for a pinch-hitter.

"I'm just happy we pulled it out because it's a long flight home," Garza said. "It's a great team win today. ... These guys don't stop, they keep fighting and fighting and fighting and eventually, the perseverance will pay off."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Matt Garza, Cody Ransom, Anthony Rizzo, Ryan Sweeney