Anthony Rizzo Has Special Inspiration For Slam

Rizzo met Matteo Lambert, a nine-year-old raising money for kids with cancer.

Bruce Levine
July 19, 2019 - 6:33 pm
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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo had a special inspiration for the key grand slam he hit in his team's 6-5 win against the Padres at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon.

He came in the form of Matteo Lambert, a nine-year-old from Virginia. Before the game, Rizzo met Matteo, who was in town ahead of running a 5K to raise money for kids who have cancer.

"That was for him," Rizzo said of his third-inning grand slam that gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead in a back-and-forth game. "He is running a 5K tomorrow for kids with cancer. It was cool he could come out and hang here."

A cancer survivor himself, Rizzo was overjoyed to see Matteo putting his goal into action. Matteo's 5K in Grant Park on Saturday will be his 20th race to raise money and awareness, according to WBEZ. Matteo is part of a group that has already raised close to $20,000, according to his website

"He wrote me a note before the game saying, 'Let's help kids be kids,'" Rizzo said. "This is a nine-year-old helping raise money running 5Ks, and he is completely healthy. It's amazing to see little kids give back and to see what a big heart he has."

Rizzo himself has helped raise millions of dollars for cancer research and puts in a significant amount of time in reaching out to kids through his Anthony Rizzo Foundation. Rizzo was asked by Matteo pregame to hit one to the moon Friday, and he did so with his two-out grand slam to left field. It was the biggest hit of a day in which the Cubs broke a 5-5 tie in the eighth inning when they plated the eventual winning run with the help of two Padres errors.

The home run was significant for Rizzo in another baseball-centric way as well, as he hadn't homered since June 15, a stretch of 26 games. He now has 20 homers or more for the seventh straight season.

" Home runs come in bunches usually," Rizzo said. "I knew I had not hit one in a while. It has happened to me before in my career. You stay the course in the process. Take what they give you and get your hits."

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