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Rizzo using bunts to help beat the shift

CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo hasn't tried to bunt for a hit since he did so in back-to-back at-bats Thursday against the Cardinals. But it's now part of his repertoire. The Cubs first baseman has to do something to counter the defensive shifts.

"He wants to get on base," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "We had a situation the other night [in St. Louis] when we were down four runs and he's not thinking, 'I'm going to hit a solo home run here.' He just wants to get on base.

"He figured they were giving them that side of the diamond, he put it down," Renteria said of Rizzo's at-bat in the first. "The next at-bat, he looked out there and they were doing the same [defensive shift], and he said, 'You know what, I'll do it again.'"

Which Rizzo did in the fourth inning. He scored that inning on Starlin Castro's home run.

In Rizzo's next at-bat in the fifth, the Cardinals did not shift as dramatically as before.

"He's smart enough that he's starting to understand the game more and more and taking advantage of it," Renteria said.

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