WRIGLEY FIELD- The Cubs got a huge scare in the top of the third in their 16-6 win over the Pirates on #Stropie (Pedro Strop) bobblehead day. #BigFolks (Anthony Rizzo) went down in pain after fielding a bunt in front of the pitchers mound. He turned his ankle right before he picked the ball up which led to an errant throw to Ben Zobrist who was covering first base.
"He was in some pretty good pain. Just an awkward way he twisted and fell," said Cubs manager Joe Maddon.
Rizzo has a sprained right ankle and will have an MRI Monday to determine the severity. The initial x-ray done at the ballpark had no fracture.
Anthony Rizzo being helped off the field after turning his ankle in Sunday's finale vs Pittsburgh. (Photo by Alan Pan/The Bigs Visuals)
Maddon knows it's a huge blow to the team and the fanbase as well but has faith in his guys. "You've gotta move forward man. We're used to this in a sense. I believe the group is up for it," he said. The team has had it's share of injuries throughout the season and are now without Rizzo, shortstop #ELMago (Javier Baez) (thumb) & closer Craig Kimbrel (elbow inflammation).
#TheNatural (Kris Bryant) extended his hit streak to 6 games as his 30th HR of the season gave the Cubs an early 3-0 lead. "I always say it's just a matter of time when you're struggling. I want to contribute in any way I can and today I did that," he said. Bryant became the third Cubs third baseman in team history to have multi 30 HR seasons.(Ron Santo had 4 & Aramis Ramirez 3)
Kris Bryant hit 2 HR and drove in 4 runs in the Cubs 16-6 rout over the Pirates (Photo by Alan Pan/The Bigs Visuals)
After the Rizzo injury, the energy completely left the ballpark which led to a Kevin Newman RBI single, a Bryan Reynolds RBI double, a Pablo Reyes 2 RBI single & a Colin Moran RBI single to put the Pirates back on top 5-3.
Bryant brought the energy right back in the bottom of the 4th with his second longball of the game to cut the Bucs lead to 5-4 and a Victor Caratini sac fly tied the game at 5.
Maddon said he sees "a more assertive swing & approach with no tentativeness attached to it" lately from his former MVP. Bryant is hitting .583 (7-12) with 3 HR 3 R & 7 RBI so far this home stand.
Tony Kemp pinch hit for the pitchers spot and drove in #TheVet (Ben Zobrist) & #JHey (Jason Heyward) to extend the lead to 7-5. Kemp then scored as Pirates pitcher Michael Feliz made a terrible throw to third baseman Erik Gonzalez on an appeal (which the Cubs won) to make it 8-5 & they never looked back.
The Cubs erupted for 47 runs and 14 HRs in the 3 game sweep and are 50-24 at home this season. This is the 15th time in 103 years (since 1916) that they've reached 50 wins in a season at Wrigley Field.
#Q (Jose Quintana) had his shortest outing of the season giving up 8 hits and 5 runs in 2.1 innings. "Q just didn't have his better stuff today. I just didn't see the ball jump out of his hands like I normally do," Maddon added.
The win put the Cubs 2 games back in the NL Central behind the division leading St. Louis Cardinals who lost to the Milwaukee Brewers in St. Louis Sunday afternoon. The Cubs face the Cards in a 4 game set to end the 10 game home stand and a 3 game set to end the season. The schedule makers obviously knew something we didn't!
FINAL- Cubs 16 PIT 6
PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME - The entire team for scoring 16 runs & every position player outside of Albert Almora reached base.
PLAY OF THE GAME - After the Rizzo injury, the Pirates scored 5 in the top of 3 & took the air out of the ballpark. The Cubs came right back with a 5 piece spicy in the bottom of 3 to take an 8-5 lead.
QUOTE OF THE GAME - "I'm very proud of our guys. The beauty of this has been getting guys out of the game." - Maddon on the Cubs 3 game scoring spree
NEXT GAME - v CIN 9/116
Cole Hamels (7-7 3.89 ERA) v Sonny Gray (10-7 2.80 ERA)
Ben Zobrist (since returning to the lineup on Aug 31) is hitting .367 (11-30) with a double, HR, 3 RBI, 9 runs & 4 walks in 10 games.