Rizzo, Cubs raise banner, beat Dodgers 3-2 in home opener
CHICAGO (AP) Anthony Rizzo sliced the ball into left field, and it was time to party – again.
Quite a night for the All-Star slugger.
Rizzo hit a game-winning single off closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Monday after raising a World Series championship banner for the first time at Wrigley Field.
In a fitting bit of symmetry, Rizzo had the honors from start to finish. The respected first baseman was picked to begin hoisting the 2016 flag, and then he was the player who carried the World Series trophy onto the field.
”I’ll remember this day for as long as I play baseball,” Rizzo said.
Pinch-hitter Jon Jay started the decisive rally with a leadoff single against Sergio Romo (0-1). With two outs and Jay on third, Rizzo dumped a 1-1 pitch from Jansen into left field for his first RBI this season.
Wade Davis (1-0) tossed a scoreless inning for his first win with the Cubs, who blew a 2-0 lead before the dramatic finish to their rain-delayed home opener.
”It was a special night,” said Jon Lester, who pitched six solid innings. ”Definitely something that’ll go down in my book as something that I’ll remember for a long, long time.”
Wet weather pushed back the start of Chicago’s pregame festivities, but the sellout crowd of 41,166 didn’t seem to mind one bit.
Rizzo heard wild cheers when he started the 2016 flag toward the top of a pole in right-center before handing the reins over to his smiling teammates. Rizzo then emerged from under the bleachers with the championship trophy, drawing another big ovation.
Before November’s epic Game 7 win in Cleveland, the Cubs had not won the World Series since 1908. They moved into Wrigley eight years later, making Monday’s celebration the first of its kind at the cozy neighborhood ballpark.
”That pregame ceremony, I wasn’t expecting to get hit with that many emotions,” Rizzo said. ”It was amazing.”
Los Angeles, which lost to Chicago in the NL Championship Series last year, committed two costly errors and left eight runners on base. Alex Wood, subbing for injured left-hander Rich Hill, lasted just 3 2/3 innings in his first start of the season.
Dodgers outfielder Franklin Gutierrez and third baseman Justin Turner also left with injuries. Gutierrez hurt his left hamstring and Turner exited with a quadriceps injury after his hard slide into second in the eighth led to a run-scoring throwing error by shortstop Addison Russell, tying it at 2.
”I think (Turner) said it was on a dive, so I don’t think it’s a strain or anything like that,” manager Dave Roberts said. ”It might have been a charley horse or something like that.”
NL MVP Kris Bryant hit an RBI double in the third and Lester drove in a run with a fielder’s choice in the fourth. Los Angeles got one back on Corey Seager’s double in the sixth.
The Dodgers loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, but Justin Grimm got Joc Pederson to fly out to right and Andrew Toles bounced into an inning-ending double play.
”We take a lot of pride in coming back and making a push and staying in it,” Seager said. ”To lose like that hurts, for sure.”
FEEL LIKE DANCING
The Cubs showed David Ross on ”Dancing With The Stars” on the videoboard in left during the rain delay. Ross retired after helping the Cubs win the championship last season, and his old teammates cheered the former catcher’s performance to ”Forever Young,” his old walk-up song.
IN THE MINORS
Dodgers prospect Julio Urias made his first start of the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, allowing two runs and two hits in 3 2/3 innings against the Iowa Cubs. The 20-year-old lefty went 5-2 with a 3.39 ERA in 18 games for Los Angeles last year, and the Dodgers want to limit his innings again this season.
”He’s close. I think to pick our spots and use him accordingly, and when we do need him, he’ll be ready,” Roberts said. ”But we’re not ready to say when that day will be. Sometime the end of the month makes sense.”
Also on Monday, the Dodgers acquired minor league right-hander Joe Gunkel from the Baltimore Orioles for a player to be named or cash. Gunkel was designated for assignment Friday.
Dodgers: Gutierrez was thrown out trying to steal in the second and replaced by Scott Van Slyke. … Hill (blister) is scheduled for a bullpen session Thursday. He could return to the rotation Sunday against Arizona.
Following an off day, the Cubs get their World Series rings before Wednesday night’s game against the Dodgers. Right-hander Brandon McCarthy (1-0, 3.00 ERA) pitches for Los Angeles, and right-hander John Lackey (1-0, 4.50) goes for Chicago.
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