Rizzo's 13-Pitch Walk Sparks Cubs In Win

The Cubs' 3-2 win over the Nationals gave them 36 come-from-behind victories.

Bruce Levine
August 10, 2018 - 5:24 pm
Anthony Rizzo, left, celebrates with Cubs teammate Javier Baez.

Jim Young/USA Today Sports

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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- When is a walk as good as a hit?

On Friday, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo made the old adage ring true in his team's unlikely 3-2 win over the Nationals at Wrigley Field. In a plate appearance to remember, Rizzo worked a 13-pitch walk off Nationals right-hander Jeremy Hellickson to get a two-out rally started and spark a two-run inning that tied a hard-fought game.

At the time of Rizzo's walk, the Cubs had nearly nothing going offensively, having yet to muster a hit off Hellickson. It didn't faze Rizzo from having a memorable and game-altering plate appearance. After his walk, the Cubs drew two more walks off Hellickson to load the bases, and Jason Heyward followed with a two-run single off Nationals lefty reliever Sammy Solis to tie the game.

"Anthony's at-bat shifted the tide of the game," said manager Joe Maddon, who was ejected later in the game for arguing an interference call on catcher Willson Contreras. "That is why it's so hard to take him out of  (the lead-off spot). The eight hole (now being used for the Cubs' pitcher) really affects the one-two hitters. You could see Hellickson grabbing for a breath after that at-bat was over, leading to the other walks. It's a tough bind on the other side for Davey (Martinez, the Nationals manager) when the guy has a no-hitter."

Rizzo was keeping his focus simple.

"He has a really good change-up," Rizzo said of Hellickson. "Sometimes I am as cool as could be, but in this at-bat, I was a little more nervous this time. It was a good at-bat and, I think, really helped us out."

The Rizzo walkathon continued in the seventh, when he walked off Nationals reliever Greg Holland with the bases loaded to force in the go-ahead run. The Cubs now lead MLB with 36 come-from-behind victories.

Rizzo has continuously ignited the Cubs' offense out of the lead-off spot lately, as he has a streak of 14 games of reaching base.

"The second walk was obviously a big one for us," said Rizzo, who has 13 game-winning RBIs this season, the second-best mark in the National League. "Hellickson is cruising and hitting his spots. I got on and he walked a couple of guys. We got him out of there. That paid off for us."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.​​​​