Rizzo, the left-handed hitting first baseman, had three
extra-base hits, three runs scored and three RBIs to lead to the
Chicago Cubs to a 7-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, spoiling
the major league debut of Polanco, the highly touted outfield
Rizzo hit his 13th home run of the season and two doubles. He has
five homers in his last 10 games.
"I'm confident right now," Rizzo said. "You can talk about mechanics
and scouting reports and everything else but the biggest thing in
this game is confidence. If you step into the batter's box with
confidence then you're giving yourself a much better chance to hit."
Polanco went 1-for-5 with a strikeout. He was recalled earlier in
the day from Triple-A Indianapolis, where was leading the
International League with a .347 batting average.
"It was a lot of fun," Polanco said. "It was exciting. I was a
little nervous at first but then I relaxed and had fun."
Pinch-hitter Luis Valbuena's two-run double off rookie reliever
Casey Sadler (0-1) broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning and put
Chicago ahead for good, making the Cubs 11-22 on the road. Valbuena
and left fielder Junior Lake had two hits apiece.
Cubs left-hander Travis Wood (6-5) allowed three runs and nine hits
in 6 2/3 innings to get the win. His road ERA was 8.04 in six starts
prior to Tuesday.
"It was a grind at times but I got through it," Wood said.
Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run home run for
the Pirates, his fifth in June in nine games. He hit a combined four
homers in April and May.
Both of McCutchen's hits came off Wood, as many as the 2013 National
League MVP had off him in 20 previous at-bats in his career.
"He's a tough out, regardless of what the numbers say," Wood said.
"I have a lot of respect for him. He's one of the best players in
Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin and left fielder Starling Marte
also had two hits.
Pirates starter Francisco Liriano left the game in the fourth inning
with discomfort in his left side. The left-hander allowed two runs
in three-plus innings and has failed to pitch at least six innings
in eight of his last nine starts.
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Liriano will likely miss his next scheduled start Sunday against the
Marlins in Miami and could possibly land on the disabled list.
"I'm not a doctor but it looks like an oblique strain and it would
be a record for someone to recover from an oblique strain in four
days," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "I think we need to
have a Plan B."
Rizzo doubled home a run in the seventh and scored on a single by
shortstop Starlin Castro to push the Chicago's lead to 7-3.
Pinch hitter Jose Tabata drew the Pirates into a 3-3 tie with an RBI
single in the bottom of the fourth. The Cubs went ahead in the top
half of the inning when Rizzo hit a leadoff double and scored on
second baseman Darwin Barney's two-out double.
Rizzo staked the Cubs to an early 2-0 lead with a two-run home run
in the top of the first.
McCutchen answered with a two-run shot, his ninth, in the third to
tie it at 2.
"Rizzo kind of got us rolling with that blast in the first and then
we added on runs from there," Chciago manager Rick Renteria. "It was
a good win."
NOTES: 3B Pedro Alvarez, despite being one of the Pirates' hottest
hitters, was not in the lineup because he is 1-for-18 in his career
against Cubs LHP Travis Wood. ... Chicago RHP Jose Veras was given
his unconditional release Tuesday, one week after being designated
for assignment. The 33-year-old went 0-2 with an 8.10 ERA in 12
relief appearances. ... Cubs RHP Jason Hammel (6-3, 2.53 ERA) faces
Pirates RHP Brandon Cumpton (1-2, 6.51 ERA) on Wednesday.
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