Anthony Rizzo almost led off his third straight game with a homer, losing his bid after a replay review, before helping key a six-run rally in the ninth inning that sent the Chicago Cubs over the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-5 Friday night at PNC Park.
The Cubs won for just the third time in nine games, putting the World Series champions back at .500 with a 33-33 mark.
Manager Joe Maddon wasn’t around to see the comeback – he was ejected in the first inning after Rizzo’s drive into the Allegheny River was intially called fair, then ruled foul.
In Rizzo’s first two tries as a leadoff man, the slugging first baseman who usually bats cleanup led off both games this week with home runs against the Mets at Citi Field.
Chicago trailed 4-3 until Jason Heyward and Willson Contreras began the ninth with doubles off Juan Nicasio (1-3) to tie it. Tony Watson, who was removed as the closer last week in favor of a Nicasco-Felipe Rivero combo, gave up a go-ahead single to pinch-hitter Jon Jay.
Rizzo added a two-run single, extending his hitting streak to 10 games, and Addison Russell had a two-run double.
Closer Wade Davis gave up a run in the ninth, but struck out Josh Harrison and Gregory Polanco with the bases loaded to end it.
Koji Uehera (2-3) got the win.
Tommy La Stella and Ian Happ, who grew up in Pittsburgh and was playing his first game at PNC Park, had two hits each for the Cubs. La Stella had a single in the ninth.
Josh Bell hit his 12th homer and a two-run triple to help the Pirates rally from 3-0 deficit. Andrew McCutchen also had two hits, including a single in the sixth that scored Bell and put Pittsburgh ahead 4-3.
Cubs starter Eddie Butler allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings. The Pirates’ Trevor Williams went five innings and gave up three runs.
White Sox 11, Blue Jays 4: Melky Cabrera homered, doubled and drove in five runs against his former team, leading Jose Quintana and the White Sox over the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
Cabrera connected for his seventh homer, a three-run drive in the fifth inning that made it 11-2.
Jose Quintana (3-8) snapped a four-game losing streak with his first win since May 2. He improved to 5-0 in five starts in Toronto.
Quintana surrendered home runs to Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce, two of the five hits the left-hander gave up over seven innings.
Justin Smoak hit his 19th home run in the ninth off White Sox reliever Jake Petricka.
Jose Abreu hit a two-run triple and scored on Todd Frazier’s sacrifice fly in the first, and a throwing error by Blue Jays starter Joe Biagini made it 4-0 later in the inning.
Cardinals 11, Orioles 2: Carlos Martinez struck out eight over six sharp innings, and St. Louis hit a season-high five home runs in a rout of the struggling Orioles at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
Rookie Paul DeJong homered, singled twice, scored three runs and had three RBIs to help St. Louis snap a three-game skid.
Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler connected in succession to cap a four-run sixth inning, Tommy Pham hit a two-run drive in the seventh and Jedd Gyorko added a solo shot in the ninth.
Coming off a four-hit shutout against Philadelphia, Martinez (6-5) gave up one run and four hits. The right-hander has 45 strikeouts over his last five starts.
After a sacrifice fly by Manny Machado got Baltimore to 2-1 in the third, DeJong hit a two-run drive in the fourth.
An RBI single by DeJong, a two-run drive by Carpenter and Fowler’s home run made it 8-1 in the sixth.
Carpenter went 2-for-3 and is 17-for-38 (.447) since he moved into the leadoff spot on June 7.