Anthony Rizzo has come to like starring in the late show.
His most recent and most dramatic performance came Friday, when he lofted a 2-run home run to right field against the wind to give the Cubs a 5-3 victory over the Miami Marlins in 13 innings at Wrigley Field.
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But even that was an encore performance. In the eighth inning, Rizzo hit a 2-run double to give the Cubs what looked to be 2 big insurance runs and a 3-0 lead. He also hit a go-ahead homer Thursday night against the Mets in the seventh to lift the Cubs to victory.
Rizzo's high drive Friday against Kevin Slowey rescued the Cubs from a blown save by Hector Rondon, who was blooped to death in the ninth, when the Marlins scored 3 to tie it.
But there's no fear when Rizzo is near.
"It's the game of baseball taking care of itself," said Rizzo, who has a nice batting line of .276/.402/.493 with team highs in homers (12) and RBI (33). "Put good swings on balls, and good things happen.
"Every time I'm up there I feel confident, whether I'm 0-for-5, 0-for-6, 0-for-10, 5-for-5. In those situations, I always say I want to be up there then. My teammates, I went them up there, as well."
Don't look now, but the Cubs have won four in a row and have improved to 24-34. Rizzo's walkoff homer was the first for the Cubs since he did it against the Cardinals on July 29, 2012.
"Fortunately for us, obviously, he's on our side," said Cubs manager Rick Renteria.
Way, way earlier in this game, a good pitching duel unfolded between the Marlins' Nathan Eovaldi and the Cubs' Jason Hammel. Eovaldi was perfect until Nate Schierholtz lined a single to center with two outs in the fifth inning.
Hammel extended his scoreless streak to 14 innings as he went 7, giving up 6 hits. He wasn't dominant, but he was able to work out of trouble in the early innings and lower his ERA from 2.78 to 2.53.
"Nathan was unbelievable on the other side," Hammel said. "We got away with one today. He was on his game, and we got some timely runs late. Any other day of the week, Rondon pulls that one out. Couple flares here and there, you can't do anything about that. He made some good pitches."
Both before and after the game, Renteria talked about how resilient his club has been lately. In Thursday's game, reliever Justin Grimm suffered a blown save, but the Cubs won.
"I'm hopeful the way we've been playing here the last 10-12 days is what we're hoping will continue to happen," he said. "Do I expect that to be what we want long term? Yes. Will we continue to push and try to do everything we can to stay on top of our game? Absolutely.
"There have been a lot of games this year where maybe we have not had the ability to overcome and win a ballgame, but I still think for the most part there have been many games where we fell a little short but they didn't quit. I don't see my club as a club that quits."