CHICAGO (AP) Anthony Rizzo stayed at the plate for an extra second as his towering drive headed toward right field. The big first baseman just wanted to make sure it was fair before he got started on one enjoyable trip around the bases.
Rizzo hit a two-run homer in the 13th inning and the Chicago Cubs beat the Miami Marlins 5-3 on Friday for their season-high fourth consecutive victory.
”I think they’re playing with a lot of confidence right now and they’re continuing to pick each other up,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. ”I think they’re starting to feel and know they can do this. You don’t want every game to be like this, but they’re doing it right. We’ll take it.”
The Cubs recovered after closer Hector Rondon blew a three-run lead in the ninth, earning their first four-game winning streak since last July 6-9. Rizzo also had a two-run double in the eighth and Jason Hammel pitched seven shutout innings.
Junior Lake hit a leadoff single against Kevin Slowey (1-1) before Rizzo connected for his 12th homer. It was Rizzo’s second homer in two days and the Cubs’ first game-ending shot since he connected against St. Louis on July 29, 2012.
”I hit it up in the air and the wind was blowing, so you never know,” Rizzo said. ”I knew I got enough of it. I was just hoping it would stay fair.”
Carlos Villanueva (2-5) pitched two perfect innings for the win. Chris Coghlan and Nate Schierholtz each had two hits.
Garrett Jones had three hits for Miami, which had won four in a row. Nathan Eovaldi gave up three runs and six hits in 7 2-3 innings in his first career appearance against the Cubs.
”I felt like I threw the ball well,” Eovaldi said. ”Was able to use both sides of the plate, slider was good, and I was able to throw my curveball a lot today for strikes.”
The Marlins had just two hits in extra innings. Their last nine hitters went down in order.
”Other than the ninth inning, you know, mounting the rally, which was good to see, we put together some nice at-bats and gave ourselves a chance to play some extras,” manager Mike Redmond said. ”But then really in the extra innings, we didn’t get anything going at all.”
Hammel allowed six hits, struck out eight and walked one, extending his scoreless streak to 14 innings over his last two outings. The right-hander, who could be an attractive trade target for a contender at next month’s deadline, is 2-1 with a 1.42 ERA over his last four starts.
”I did my best to stay in my counts so I could be advantageous throwing the heater,” he said. ”I was kind of pitching backwards today. Slider early and fastball late.”
Hammel was in line for his seventh victory, which would have matched his total from last season, before the Marlins rallied in the ninth. Justin Bour had a run-scoring grounder before Reed Johnson, another pinch hitter, sliced a tying, two-run single into right-center against one of his former teams.
Bour was initially ruled safe on his grounder to first, but the call was overturned when a replay review showed Rondon got his foot on the bag in time. There was another overturned call in the 10th inning when Schierholtz’s diving try for Casey McGehee’s sinking liner to right was initially ruled a successful catch.
Eovaldi retired his first 14 batters before Schierholtz reached on a two-out single in the fifth for his 500th career hit. Coghlan followed with a liner to right for his third RBI in 24 games this season, scoring Schierholtz all the way from first for a 1-0 lead.
While Eovaldi was shutting down the Cubs, Hammel had to work hard to keep the Marlins down. Miami got at least one hit in each of the first five innings, but Hammel was at his best when the Marlins had runners on base.
”I’m very confident in my stuff right now and having a good game plan,” Hammel said.
NOTES: Cubs C John Baker returned to the lineup after taking a foul ball off his throat during Wednesday’s 5-4 victory over the Mets. Renteria said Baker’s vocal cords are ”inflamed” and the catcher is taking medication. ”There’s nothing there that we can actually do to hurt it any more or any less,” Renteria said. … Blackhawks forwards Patrick Sharp, Bryan Bickell and Michal Handzus and defenseman Sheldon Brookbank took batting practice and threw in the outfield before the game. ”The wind must be blowing in because I didn’t get one out,” Sharp said with a grin. ”I think Bicksy hit one off the wall.” … Cubs RHP Jeff Samardzija (1-5, 2.54 ERA) faces 37-year-old Marlins LHP Randy Wolf (1-1, 3.38) on Saturday.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap