Rizzo's homer propels Cubs past Pirates

Thu Sep 17, 2015 6:27pm EDT
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(The Sports Xchange) - First baseman Anthony Rizzo's two-run home run, his 30th of the season, started a six-run fifth inning as the Cubs rallied for a crucial 9-6 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.

The Cubs turned a 4-3 deficit into a 9-4 lead with the fifth-inning outburst that included a two-run double by left-handed reliever Clayton Richard (4-2) and RBI singles by rookie shortstop Addison Russell and second baseman Tommy La Stella.

The Cubs (85-61) got within two games of the Pirates (87-59) for the first wild-card berth as they seek their first post-season since 2008.

"We come ready to play," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I'm telling you, man.

"Mission accomplished in one sense is that our guys came out and played the same game they've been playing all year long.

"That's what we've been preaching - just play the same game."

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has been saying the same thing to his team, however, Pittsburgh no longer seem so assured of hosting the wild-card game for third successive year.

"We played hard, we didn't play well enough and we didn't play good enough baseball," Hurdle said.

"We've got to play better baseball moving forward."   Continued...

Sep 17, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs right fielder Chris Coghlan (8) and first baseman Anthony Rizzo (R) celebrate a two run home run by Rizzo against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fifth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports