He finally got one in the eighth inning, but not before hitting two two-run homers to power the Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Friday night, giving Chicago back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
“This is going to sound stupid, but the single there in my last at-bat was probably my favorite one just because that’s my swing there,” Rizzo said.
Rizzo’s second career two-home run game gave him eight on the season, the most by a Cubs left-handed hitter in April. Billy Williams (1970) and Henry Rodriguez (2000) each hit seven.
“It’s all about production and that’s what I’m supposed to do,” Rizzo said.
Scott Feldman (1-3) allowed two runs in 6 2-3 innings, Kevin Gregg recorded his second save, and Darwin Barney had three hits for Chicago, which beat Miami 4-3 on Thursday and had been 0-6 following a win.
“You can say it as many times as you want, but winning is so much more fun than losing,” Feldman said. “Hopefully this is a start to a little hot streak here and we can keep playing well.”
Rizzo, who hails from nearby Parkland, Fla., and had about 100 supporters in attendance, came into the game mired in a 1-for-20 slump and hitting .173 on the season, but broke out by going 3 for 4 with a stolen base.
“He has eight (home runs) and 18 RBIs now after hitting .173, but it’s nice because we know that will all come plus everything else when he gets hot,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “It’s still a nice month having eight homers. At least that’s kept him probably sane.”
He was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in the first game of the series on Thursday.
“After yesterday it means a lot,” Rizzo said. “I had a lot of people here, lot of friends and family, and a lot of people I don’t even know here supporting. It feels good and after last night, it was a little embarrassing, but to come back today and get the win and have a good game in front of everyone it feels really good.”
Rizzo hit a two-run homer off Wade LeBlanc (0-4) in the first inning to deep center field estimated at 420 feet and followed that blast with an estimated 413-foot two-run shot to the upper deck in right field in his next at-bat, again off LeBlanc, who allowed four runs in six innings.
“I made a few mistakes that I got away with tonight, but the two that really hurt me are the two that I need to execute better,” LeBlanc said.
Joe Mahoney hit his first career homer for the Marlins in the fourth to cut the deficit to 4-1.
“In the heat of the battle I was just thinking we’re three down,” Mahoney said. “I’ll reflect more on it probably tonight. But it’s starting to sink in. It’s good to get the first one out of the way and kind of settle in. I’ve been waiting to get that one for a while now. It’s definitely a good feeling.”
Feldman got into a jam in the seventh after Chris Coghlan’s double gave the Marlins a pair of runners on base with one out. Chris Valaika’s sacrifice fly pulled Miami within 4-2 and a walk to Austin Kearns ended Feldman’s night. James Russell came on in relief and retired Juan Pierre to get out of the inning.
Miami threatened again in the eighth with two on and two out, but Rob Brantly popped out to end the inning.
“We just have to keep talking to them,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “If they see me starting to panic, then that puts more pressure on everybody else. I’m not that way.”
Gregg sent the Marlins down in order in the ninth to earn his second save in as many chances.
Before the game, Redmond declined to comment on a report that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria demanded that starting pitchers Jose Fernandez and Ricky Nolasco swap starts for Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader against the Twins.
Loria’s desire to have top rookie Fernandez start the day game caused friction with the team, according to the report by Yahoo! Sports.
“We were all on the call and it was an organizational decision and I’m going to leave it at that,” Redmond said when asked about the story.
Fernandez started the day game in which the Marlins lost 4-3.
NOTES: Rizzo also hit two home runs against Pittsburgh on Sept. 16, 2012. … Cubs RHP Matt Garza had a flat-ground throwing session on Friday. “It went really well, no tightness or soreness so he’ll go again (Saturday),” said Sveum, who expects Garza to have three or four rehab starts before returning to the big league club by May 20. … Marlins RHP Alex Sanabia (2-2, 5.09 ERA) will start Saturday’s game against Cubs LHP Travis Wood (1-1, 2.08 ERA).