There's no place quite like home for the Chicago Cubs, who won their fourth straight at Wrigley Field and improved to 14-13 in the Friendly Confines on Friday.
It took 4 hours, 2 minutes and 13-innings of delayed satisfaction before Anthony Rizzo lofted a two-run, walk-off homer in the ninth for a 5-3 victory over the upstart Miami Marlins.
"Put good swings on balls and things happen," said Rizzo, who gave the Cubs their second walk-off victory of the week with his 12th home run. He drove in four runs to raise his season total to 33.
Starter Jason Hammel threw seven scoreless innings and the Cubs led 3-0 going into the ninth before closer Hector Rondon gave up three runs on four hits to send the game into extra innings. Former Cub Reed Johnson drove in the tying runs with a two-out single.
"It's a cliche, but it's timely hitting and good pitching," manager Rick Renteria said of the Cubs winning their fourth in a row for the first time since July 6-9 of last year.
"I'm hopeful that the way we've been playing the last 10-12 days, is what (will continue) to happen," Renteria said. "Do I expect that to be what we want long-term? Yes. We will continue to push to stay on top of our game."
The Cubs, who snapped the Marlins' four-game winning streak, are 7-1 in their last eight home games. This is their first four-game home winning streak since June 29-July 15, 2012, when they won six straight.
"Where we're at right now, I know we're playing every single game to win. And that's not going to change," Renteria said. "Some teams win, some teams lose, but we're going about it the right way. We're chipping away at things that we need to chip away at. Hopefully in the long run it will bring us a good chance of success."
Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi was perfect through the 4 2/3 innings before Nate Schierholtz lined a single to center field. Then Chris Coghlan doubled him home to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
Schierholtz entered the game hitting .215, and Coghlan checked in at .171.
"The numbers say one thing, but they are grinding out at-bats," Renteria said. "Today they had some fruits for those grinds they have been putting in on a daily basis. Hey, they are all big league baseball players. Any one of them can have a big game."
Rizzo drove in a pair of runs in the eighth inning with a double to provide the Cubs with a seemingly comfortable 3-0 lead. But it took his 13th-inning heroics off losing reliever Kevin Slowey to pull out the victory.
"Whether I am 0-for-5, 0-for-6, 0-for-10 or 5-for-5 ... in those (crucial) situations I want to be up there then," Rizzo said. "And all of my teammates, I want them to want me up there as well."
Carlos Villanueva (2-5) was credited with the victory after tossing scoreless innings in the 12yj and 13th. Relievers Wesley Wright, Neil Ramirez and Brian Schlitter also shut down the Marlins before and after Rondon's meltdown.
"Any other day of the week, Rondon pulls that out," Hammel said. "A couple of flares here and there ... can't do anything about that. He made some good pitches. But it was nice to see Rizzo walk us off."
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