It didn't take long for Anthony Rizzo's bat to have an impact for the Cubs.
The highly-regarded prospect will next try to led Chicago to its first sweep of the New York Mets in over eight years this afternoon in the finale of a three-game series.
The 22-year-old Rizzo was a sixth-round pick by Boston in 2007 and was dealt to the Padres in December of 2010 in a deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox. Rizzo hit just .141 with a homer, nine RBI and 46 strikeouts in 49 games with San Diego in 2011 before being traded to the Cubs in January.
Rizzo, regarded as the club's top prospect, was terrorizing the minors this year, batting .342 with a Pacific Coast League-leading 23 homers in 70 games with Iowa. He was recalled from the minors prior to last night's game, starting at first base while hitting third.
Rizzo went 2-for-4 and his RBI double in the fourth inning proved to be the difference in a 5-3 win, the Cubs' second straight following a four-game slide.
"It was awesome to have that," said Rizzo. "Being able to come into the clubhouse and contribute right away, it's a great feeling."
Chicago next tries to win three straight for the first time since May 28-30 and in doing so would record its first three-game sweep of New York since April 23-25, 2004 at Wrigley Field.
David Wright and Josh Thole both drove in a run for the Mets, who matched a season high with their fourth straight loss. Dillon Gee gave up four runs on nine hits over five innings and also drove in a run in the loss.
"I was out there battling and trying to make some pitches, but I left some of them up there and they got a hold of them," said Gee. "They were just able to put the ball in the right spots."
Jon Niese will try to prevent the sweep today and is coming off Friday's win over the Yankees. The left-hander held the American League East powerhouses to a pair of runs over 6 1/3 frames, the fourth straight start in which he has pitched at least six frames.
Niese improved to 5-3 with a 3.75 earned run average on the season and the 25- year-old is 1-2 with a 5.95 ERA in four career meetings with the Cubs.
Chicago's Jeff Samardzija hopes to avoid a fourth straight losing start today and he has pitched to a 10.29 ERA over his current string of losses.
The 27-year-old righty was charged with five runs over five innings of work at Arizona on Friday, getting dealt a 6-1 loss. Samardzija fell to 5-6 with a 4.34 ERA in 14 starts this year, but that does include a 3-2 mark and 2.36 ERA in six at home.
Samardzija will make the first start of his career versus the Mets, but does own a career 2.70 ERA in six previous relief appearances without a decision.
The Cubs won four of six over the Mets a season ago.