Baseball / Sports

Dbacks trim Cubs, 5-4, despite Rizzo's two homers

PHOENIX--After a brief chat with his players on Sunday and conducting an optional workout Thursday, manager Rick Renteria hopes he won't need to deliver a pep talk as the Chicago Cubs open the second half Friday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"We told them to get ready for the remainder of the season," Renteria said. "Everyone knows and have to make their push."

But a well-worked bullpen couldn't support Edwin Jackson as the Diamondbacks rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and held on for a 5-4 win to extend the Cubs' losing streak to three games.

The Cubs wasted two home runs by Anthony Rizzo and left Justin Ruggiano stranded at third to end the game. Ruggiano drew a walk with one out against closer Addison Reed, stole second base and went to third on an errant throw by Miguel Montero.

But Welington Castillo struck out to end the game.

Rizzo hit a two-run home run off Trevor Cahill in the top of the fourth inning that traveled over the swimming pool in right center.

Rizzo followed with a solo shot that cleared the center field wall in the top of the sixth for his 22nd home run of the season. This marked the sixth multi-homer game of Rizzo's career and his first since May 31 at Milwaukee.

Rizzo needs only one more homer to equal his 2013 total of 23.

Rizzo's homers were timely as they gave support to Edwin Jackson, who limited the Diamondbacks to two hits until the bottom of the fifth inning.

The Diamondbacks collected four consecutive singles with one out to cut the deficit to 3-2. But Didi Gregorius was thrown out trying to score from third base on an errant pitch from Jackson, and Aaron Hill grounded to short with the tying run at second.

But with one out in the sixth, Jackson allowed a home run to Paul Goldschmidt to cut the Cubs' lead to 4-3. Jackson was pulled after only 88 pitches and replaced by left-hander James Russell, who allowed a bunt single to Miguel Montero, and Mark Trumbo and Martin Prado followed with singles off Brian Schlitter (making his 44th appearance), and Gerardo Parra hit a game-tying sacrifice fly.

Left-hander Zac Rosscup relieved Schlitter, but Gregorius foiled the strategy by hitting a single to score Trumbo with the go-ahead run.

"I thought (Jackson) did his job," Renteria said after the game. "He's the guy we seem to pick on, and I thought he did a great job. He kept us in the ballgame."

Jackson kept the ball down as he struck out three and no outfielders made any putouts during his 5 1/3 innings.

After a rough first half, Jackson took a few days off from baseball.

"I cleared my mind, relaxed, didn't think about a baseball until Wednesday," Jackson said.

Jackson is owed more than two years and more than $25 million on his contract, but he didn't rule out the possibility of anyone -- including himself -- from getting dealt before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline.

"It can involve anybody," Jackson said. "But you don't worry about what you can't control. I got one job and that's to pitch every fifth day. And everything is out of my control.''

Meanwhile, Cubs second baseman Arismendy Alcantara continues to impress. Alcantara, making his sixth consecutive start since being recalled from Triple-A Iowa, battled from an 0-2 count to draw a walk off Cahill that preceded Rizzo's first homer.

The Cubs missed a chance to tie the game in the eighth. Rizzo hit a deep drive to left center, but Ender Inciarte, who was inserted in the top of the inning for defensive purposes, sprinted to rob Rizzo of a game-tying extra base hit.

Alcantara stole second base, but Starlin Castro struck out to end the rally.

After Rizzo's first homer, the Cubs added another run in the third on a double by Luis Valbuena and a two-out RBI single by Ryan Sweeney.

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