Rizzo comes through again with clutch home run late to lift Cubs to win
It appeared for a brief time that the Chicago Cubs’ Jake Arrieta was going to be a tough-luck loser again, outdueled by the opposing pitcher. But an Anthony Rizzo two-run home run in the eighth helped the Cubs overcome a two-run deficit with one swing. They added two more in the ninth to take the opener from the Brewers with a 5-2 win.
The Cubs (54-47) were stifled by Jimmy Nelson all game, mustering just two hits in the first seven innings as Nelson struck out nine Cubs. Jonathan Lucroy got the Brewers (44-59) off to the early lead with an RBI double to score Gerardo Parra. Ryan Braun hit a chopper off the glove of Arrieta later in the inning that scored Parra to put them up 2-0.
Jeremy Jeffress replaced Nelson in the eighth, and the Cubs went right to work on the guy not named Nelson. Addison Russell singled to start the inning, followed by another single from Dexter Fowler. Brewers’ skipper Craig Counsell made a pitching change, turning things over to Will Smith (4-2, 2.59) who quickly struck out Kyle Schwarber.
His luck with Rizzo was not as good as he ripped a line drive three-run home run into a crowd of Cubs fans in right field for their first lead of the game. The Cubs added some insurance in the ninth as Kris Bryant drove in Starlin Castro on a sacrifice fly, followed later by an RBI single from Schwarber to put the Cubs up 5-2. Pedro Strop pitched a perfect ninth, aided by a great play by Castro as he went deep in the hole and making a throw from his knees to get Kris Davis at first.
Maddon turned to Hector Rondon again for the save as he did not disappoint, as it looks like the Rondon from last year may be back. Rafael Soriano (2-0, 6.35) picked up the win with a clean seventh inning.