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posted: 9/16/2012 8:49 PM

Powerfully successful day for Cubs' Rizzo

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  • The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo celebrates with Bryan LaHair at home plate Sunday after hitting his first career grand slam.

      The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo celebrates with Bryan LaHair at home plate Sunday after hitting his first career grand slam.
    Associated Press

 
 

The Cubs have questions to answer all over the diamond for next year, especially about their young players.

One youngster they don't have to worry about is Anthony Rizzo.

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His name is written in ink at first base for next year and years to come.

Rizzo had another day of firsts Sunday in the Cubs' come-from-behind 13-9 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field.

He hit a pair of homers, a 2-run blast to deep left-center in the Cubs' 4-run fifth inning that helped them begin to erase a 6-1 deficit and make it 6-5.

A grand slam in the sixth was the capper of a 5-run inning as the Cubs went ahead after trailing 9-5.

It was Rizzo's first grand slam and multihomer game of his big-league career and his first 6-RBI day. Rizzo became the first Cub to drive in 6 since Aramis Ramirez did so on July 20, 2010.

"I don't think it tops the walk-off, but it was a great game, well fought by all of us, all 25 or all 40 of us, however many there are here," said Rizzo, referring to a 10th-inning game-winner against St. Louis on July 29.

"It was a good game, and we kept fighting the last couple days, showing some resilience."

Since Rizzo came up from Class AAA Iowa on June 26, he has put up a hitting line of .300/.352/.491 with 14 home runs and 43 RBI. At Iowa, he hit 23 homers and drove in 62.

"The combination of Triple-A and here too is pretty impressive," said manager Dale Sveum, whose team improved to 58-88. "You're talking mid-20s (in homers) and 90 to 100 RBI.

"He went into that little lull and he figured some other things out, but I think he realized he wasn't going to be (speedster Tony) Campana. He was going to be Anthony Rizzo.

"Everything he's done here has been, obviously, what we expected. We don't expect any more or less. He's been spectacular since he's been here."

Rizzo said he will be happy to finish the season with some positive momentum going into next spring.

"You know you work every day hard, and there are days you're going to feel good and days you're not going to feel good," he said. "You just go with it, go with the flow and understand that's the nature of the game."

The 4-hour, 4-minute game was forgettable other than left fielder Alfonso Soriano reaching and passing the 100-RBI mark and rookie reliever Jeff Beliveau earning his first major-league victory.

Starting pitcher Chris Volstad lasted just 4 innings, giving up 10 hits and 6 runs as his ERA jumped from 5.99 to 6.26.

"If you're going to play long, it's better to win them," Sveum said. "There was a lot of great things that happened in that game. Obviously, Rizzo's day was spectacular, at the least.

"I think Joe Mather's leadoff home run (in the fifth) got things going. We really weren't doing anything, and that inning snowballed into a 4-run inning, and then Rizzo's blast."

bmiles@dailyherald.com

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