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2017 Cubs victories revisited, May 24: Cubs 5, Giants 4

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It was a big day for Anthony Rizzo.

May 24, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (44) hits a home run against the San Francisco Giants during the fourth inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

This win, which gave the Cubs a 24-21 mark (though not before Wade Davis almost blew a three-run ninth-inning lead), put them three games over .500 for the first time in 19 days. They moved to within half a game of the first-place Brewers in the N.L. Central.


Anthony Rizzo is a noted streak hitter, always has been and likely always will be.

He’s now hitting 10-for-27 (.370/.500/.926) over his last eight games with five home runs (and only two strikeouts!). Streak, begun! Hopefully this will continue when the Cubs finally get out of this miserable Chicago cold weather and to warm southern California for the next week.

Two of those home runs came against the Giants Wednesday night, helping lead the Cubs to a 5-4 victory.

The Cubs needed both of Rizzo’s blasts (it was his 14th career multi-homer game) as well as what looked like insurance runs in the seventh and eight, because a couple of Wade Davis streaks ended in this one.

Before we get to Davis’ rough ninth inning, let’s have a look at Rizzo’s homers. The first one came in the second inning with the Cubs down 1-0 [VIDEO].

After Denard Span homered to give the Giants the lead again in the top of the third, Rizzo got that run back in the fourth with his second blast [VIDEO].

The second one was crushed!

The Cubs took a 3-2 lead in the fifth on two singles and a sacrifice fly by Javier Baez. Meanwhile, Hendricks had settled down. After Span’s homer he retired 10 straight Giants before Brandon Belt singled with one out in the sixth, a bunt that Hendricks probably should have just put in his pocket. Instead, a throwing error put Span on second. Fortunately, Hendricks stranded him and retired the rest of the Giants he faced, finishing with a solid seven-inning, five-hit, no-walk, two-run evening.

It was in the bottom of the sixth, with two Cubs on base and Jason Heyward at bat, that the contest erupted into a bit of controversy. You decide [VIDEO].

Watching that again a couple of times, Giants announcer Duane Kuiper is correct — he noted it right away. Heyward took a step inside the baseline just before he got to first base. It clearly wasn’t intentional, but that doesn’t matter. The rule is what it is, and Heyward was out and the runners had to return. Too bad, because a run had scored when the ball got away from Belt and Rizzo had made it all the way to third base.

The Cubs scored in the seventh to make it 4-2, and in the next inning plate umpire Jeff Nelson appeared to completely forget exactly what makes up a strike zone.

Pinch-hitter Michael Morse led off with a single and was forced at second. Joe Panik popped up to Kris Bryant in foul territory and with two out and a runner at first, it looked like the Cubs were out of the inning.

But Koji Uehara walked Belt. Or more accurately, a walk is what Nelson called — it looked to me as if at least one, maybe two pitches that were called balls in that sequence were strikes.

Then Joe Maddon brought in Carl Edwards Jr. to face Buster Posey, and the same thing happened. Nelson’s calls were all over the place and Posey wound up walking on four pitches, loading the bases. Fortunately, CJ got Brandon Crawford to hit a comebacker to end the threat.

The Cubs added their fifth run of the night on a sacrifice fly by Jon Jay after Heyward had smacked a triple to right field leading off the inning. That Heyward hit was nice to see; he’s started hitting the ball with authority again after coming off the disabled list earlier this week.

Then it was time for Davis, whose ERA still stood at 0.00 entering the game; he had allowed just one unearned run all year, and had not allowed a home run since September 2015.

I suppose rust might be as good an explanation as any. Davis hadn’t been in a game in a week, and Eduardo Nunez hit the first pitch from Davis up the middle for a single. Davis struck out Christian Arroyo, which brought up Mac Williamson, a little-used spare-part outfielder who was hitting .160 (4-for-25) at the time he stepped into the box, including 0-for-3 against Hendricks.

Williamson worked a 2-2 count, including at one point fouling off six straight pitches, and then deposited Davis’ 12th pitch of the at-bat into the right-field seats to make it 5-4.

Give Williamson a lot of credit:

If you believe this, Davis should have had Williamson struck out quite a bit earlier in that sequence:

Thanks for nothing, Jeff Nelson.

Davis then walked Morse, putting the tying run on base, but got Span to pop up and struck out Panik to end it, giving the Cubs their second straight win over the Giants and moving them to a 6-2 record on the homestand.

The weather was again miserable, cold with an 18 mile per hour wind blowing straight in from left field. Just to remind us that it has rained nearly every day this month, a little rainshower popped up over Wrigley Field right when the first pitch was thrown. It rained for about five minutes, then stopped.

Fortunately, Thursday’s forecast has no rain at all (and, crossing our fingers, perhaps even a little sunshine). And the Cubs will go for a series win and a very successful 7-2 homestand at 1:20 p.m. CT. Eddie Butler will face our old friend Jeff Samardzija.