CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs celebrated Anthony Rizzo’s engagement with a postgame cake. The All-Star first baseman dove right in.
Pretty sweet day.
Rizzo reached four times and scored the winning run on Jason Heyward’s sacrifice fly in the eighth inning, leading the Cubs to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday that snapped a six-game losing streak.
“It doesn’t matter if it was versus the Cardinals or versus a college team, we needed to win no matter what,” Rizzo said.
It was the second big win for Rizzo in less than a day. He proposed to girlfriend Emily Vakos on Thursday.
“We were on a boat on Lake Michigan, had some fireworks go off, and it was great,” Rizzo said. “She was totally surprised, so that’s what I wanted. Somehow kept that under wraps.”
Heyward also doubled in Rizzo in the sixth and Kris Bryant homered as the Cubs washed away some of the sting from a winless road trip against the Dodgers and Padres. John Lackey pitched seven solid innings, settling down after a shaky start.
“We just did enough,” manager Joe Maddon said.
Dexter Fowler homered for St. Louis in his first game at Wrigley Field since he signed with the Cardinals in the offseason. Rookie Magneuris Sierra had an RBI single, and Lance Lynn pitched 5 1/3 innings of two-hit ball.
“It was one of those days when I didn’t have my best stuff but I was able to kind of mix and match and move in and out,” Lynn said.
Rizzo led off the eighth with a double over the head of Sierra in left. He moved up on Ben Zobrist’s grounder to third and scampered home when Heyward hit a fly ball to center against Trevor Rosenthal (1-2).
Pedro Strop (1-2) struck out Yadier Molina with the bases loaded for the final out of the Cardinals eighth, and Wade Davis closed for his 11th save.
“We were in a good spot,” manager Mike Matheny said of the blown opportunity in the eighth. “We just weren’t able to get the hit we needed.”
Fowler received his World Series ring during a pregame ceremony, drawing loud cheers from the crowd of 41,051 on a picturesque day at the iconic neighborhood ballpark. He then posed for a picture with his former teammates, Maddon, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, and general manager Jed Hoyer.
The 31-year-old Fowler got another loud ovation when he stepped to the plate in the first inning, and he hit a drive to the bleachers in right for his 23rd career leadoff homer. He clapped his hands as he approached home, and a fan threw the ball back on the field.
“I know John and John knows me,” Fowler said. “I know he’s going to come after me from the beginning. It’s just a matter of getting a good pitch to hit.”
St. Louis got another run in the second on Sierra’s one-out single, but that was the Cardinals’ last hit against Lackey. Bryant connected for his 12th homer in the third, and the Cubs tied it at 2 in the sixth.
Lynn departed after consecutive one-out walks, and Heyward followed with a towering fly ball to right against Tyler Lyons. Stephen Piscotty had trouble with the ball, and it landed on the warning track in front of the wall for an RBI double.
“As soon as it went up, when it got to the highest point I just lost it,” Piscotty said. “It was in the sun.”
The Cubs had the bases loaded when Matt Bowman got pinch hitter Jon Jay to bounce into an inning-ending double play. Maddon originally sent Albert Almora Jr. up to hit for slumping slugger Kyle Schwarber and then switched to Jay when Matheny brought in Bowman.
Sierra was promoted from Double-A Springfield to replace infielder Jedd Gyorko, who was placed on paternity leave after Thursday’s 2-0 victory over the Dodgers. Gyorko’s wife, Karley, had a girl on Tuesday, named Brooklyn Ellee. Gyorko is expected to return to the team in time for Sunday night’s series finale.
The 21-year-old Sierra made his major league debut last month and hit .367 (11 for 30) in seven games.
“He’s a very even-keeled player,” Matheny said. “He understands what he brings to the table and has a great chance to build on that.”
Cubs left-hander Jon Lester (3-3, 3.86 ERA) and Cardinals right-hander Mike Leake (5-3, 2.24 ERA) match up in the second game of the series on Saturday. Lester struggled in his last start, allowing six runs in 3 1/3 innings in a loss to the Dodgers, but he is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in six home starts this season. Leake went 2-2 with a 3.09 ERA in five May starts.
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