The Cubs' highly-touted prospect, Anthony Rizzo, delivered on some of his promise Saturday, hitting a go-ahead two- run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning against the Houston Astros, giving Chicago a 3-2 win in the second of a three-game set.
The bomb was Rizzo's first in a Chicago uniform and second at the major league level. The 22-year-old first baseman was recalled from Triple-A Iowa on June 26.
"He's done a great job producing and doing what he does," remarked Cubs starter Matt Garza of Rizzo. "Let the guy enjoy it. He's going to be a great one."
Rizzo's blast put Garza (4-6) on the winning side of the decision after the righty navigated through trouble all afternoon, allowing two runs on nine hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings. Garza had lost five of his previous six decisions coming into the game.
"We had runners all over the place, no doubt," Houston manager Brad Mills said. "We were putting together good at-bats."
J.A. Happ (6-8) gave up all three runs with two outs in the fifth and took the loss. He gave up five hits and walked four in six innings. The left-hander also struck out six.
"He threw the ball really well and battled all the way through," Mills said.
Jordan Schafer and J.D. Martinez each knocked in a run for the Astros, who have lost three straight.
Martinez started the third inning with a base hit and reached third on Scott Moore's double to right. After Happ struck out, Schafer shot a ground ball past the drawn-in infielders on the left side to give the Astros an early lead.
Brian Bogusevic worked a walk and Chris Johnson singled to start the fourth. After Jason Castro grounded into a double play, Martinez lofted a single to center field, scoring Johnson and giving Houston a two-run edge.
The Cubs overtook Houston with a three-run fifth inning. Luis Valbuena walked and advanced to second on a sacrifice to start the frame. Two batters later, Starlin Castro delivered a two-out base hit to right to score Valbuena and pull the Cubs within one. Rizzo followed with a long fly ball over the right- field fence to give the Cubs the lead.
The margin would stand because of a dominant effort by the Cubs bullpen. Scott Maine, Manuel Corpas, James Russell, Shawn Camp and Carlos Marmol combined for 3 2/3 one-hit innings, in which they struck out five and only walked one. For Marmol, it was his seventh save of the year and fifth straight successfully converted opportunity.
The Cubs have won four of their last five games...Chicago has won consecutvie home series for the first time since winning three straight from April 23-May 9...In his last eight outings, Marmol is 5-for-5 in save opportunities with a 1.45 earned run average (one earned run in 6 2/3 innings) and 11 strikeouts...The Astros are 9-27 on the road...Happ is 0-4 with a 6.92 ERA (24 earned runs in 31 2/3 innings) on the road this year...Happ leads the Astros with 11 quality starts...Houston went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base...Chicago went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight.