Anthony Rizzo homers twice as Cubs knock off Giants
Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo smacked two home runs as part of his 3-for-3 performance on Tuesday night. (Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports)

Anthony Rizzo homers twice as Cubs knock off Giants

by - Senior Writer -

CHICAGO — Led by a 2-homer performance from Anthony Rizzo, the Chicago Cubs (67-58) made it a victorious homecoming in their first game back at Wrigley Field following a 10-game road trip. The Tuesday night contest between the Cubs and the San Francisco Giants (63-63) featured a combined five home runs and standout performances from Rizzo and fellow Cubs slugger Nicholas Castellanos, who hit three combined dingers themselves. The Cubs downed the Giants 5-3, thus claiming the opener of the 3-game series.

The Cubs tallied nine hits on the evening, and six of them were garnered by Castellanos and Rizzo. who went 3-for-5 and 3-for-3, respectively. Castellanos opened the scoring action with a 401-foot solo shot off Giants starter Tyler Beede that landed in the basket atop the wall in right-center field in the bottom of the first. A few at-bats later, Rizzo answered with a 395-foot moonshot out to right field. Cole Hamels started on the mound for the Cubs and, outside of a few bad pitches, fared well in his six innings of work. Hamels struck out five while giving up just five hits.

However, two of the five hits recorded by the Giants off Hamels were game-tying round-trippers. The first one was hit by Austin Slater, who drove a 2-run shot over the wall in right in the top of the second. In the bottom of the third, Rizzo regained the lead for the Cubs with his second bomb of the contest, with the 396-footer resulting in Rizzo reaching the 25-homer mark for the sixth time in his career. Then, in the top of the fourth, Kevin Pillar responded for the Giants by walloping a solo blast that evened the score at 3-3.

A weird series of events led to the Cubs going back on top in the fifth frame. After Rizzo led off with a single, he was outed on a force play at second base as part of what was initially ruled a double-play groundout by Javier Baez. Strangely, Rizzo began to walk back toward the dugout before Baez reached first base, resulting in the two Cubs colliding as Baez raced down the first baseline and past the bag.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon challenged the call at first, and Baez was subsequently ruled safe, although Giants skipper Bruce Bochy argued that Rizzo interfered with Giants first baseman Brandon Belt. In a postgame interview, Rizzo revealed that he thought that Belt, who fielded the grounder before firing to second, touched first before making the throw. If so, that would have nullified the force play at second and justified Rizzo attempting to step back onto the first-base bag.

Once play resumed after the strange incident was put to rest, Schwarber drew a walk, which was followed by an RBI single from Jonathan Lucroy. Lucroy's line drive ricocheted off the mitt of Belt and into the outfield, thereby enabling Baez to score from second. Rizzo scored in the bottom of the seventh to provide the Cubs with an insurance run after reaching base via a leadoff walk. A double by Schwarber advanced Rizzo to third, and a sacrifice fly from Tony Kemp plated Rizzo.

The Giants' last legitimate scoring opportunity came when Mike Yastrzemski, the grandson of the great Carl Yastrzemski, hit a high drive to deep center field that came up just short of leaving the yard for what would have been a 2-run homer in the top of the seventh. Instead, Jason Heyward caught the fly ball on the warning track for the third out. Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel went on to notch his first save since returning from the injured list when he sat the Giants down in order in the top of the ninth and secured the Cubs' 5-3 victory.

San Francisco Giants at Chicago Cubs
Aug 20, 2019 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
San Francisco (63-63) 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 6 0
Chicago (67-58) 2 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 - 5 9 0
W: Cole Hamels (7-4) L: Fernando Abad (0-1) S: Craig Kimbrel (10)

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