Anthony Rizzo’s homer in 14-pitch at-bat highlights Cubs’ comeback win vs. Cards

Rizzo capped the at-bat, which included 10 foul balls, with a rocket to right field at 110.1 mph. The sixth-inning blast tied the score en route to an 8-5 victory.

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St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs

Anthony Rizzo celebrates his home run in the sixth inning Friday against the Cardinals.

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The biggest crowd at Wrigley Field since Sept. 22, 2019, got to make plenty of noise Friday, and Anthony Rizzo’s sixth-inning, game-tying home run might have been the loudest the Lakeview neighborhood has been in close to two years.

Rizzo capped a 14-pitch at-bat against the Cardinals’ Daniel Ponce de Leon, which included 10 foul balls, with a rocket to right field, a 110.1 mph shot off his bat that brought the Wrigley crowd to a roar.

Rizzo’s homer was one of seven unanswered runs the Cubs scored to beat the Cardinals 8-5. It was the longest Cubs at-bat since at least 1988 to end in a home run, and with it, Rizzo tied a game the Cubs had trailed 5-1 going into the bottom of the fifth.

“What an at-bat, the place erupts,” manager David Ross said. “I mean, that puts pressure on the opposing team. That puts focus in you that makes you lock in a little better at the plate or on the mound.”

Ross likened Rizzo’s at-bat to Alex Cora’s 18-pitch battle against former Cub Matt Clement in 2004 that he witnessed as a member of the Dodgers.

“We just know we have that firepower,” Rizzo said. “You just keep getting guys up and having good at-bats and you give it to the next guy. We continue to have good at-bats, and the next guy is going to come up with a hit eventually.”

Sergio Alcantara’s RBI triple in the fifth was instrumental in trimming the deficit. After Rizzo tied the score in the sixth, Joc Pederson’s double off the wall to score Jason Heyward and Jake Marisnick in the seventh gave the Cubs a two-run lead. Willson Contreras homered in the eighth for good measure.

Full capacity again

Illinois moved into Phase 5 of its reopening plan Friday, creating the opportunity for the Cubs and Cardinals to play their weekend -series in front of a full house.

“In a way, I feel like this is sort of symbolic of the opening of the city,” team president Jed Hoyer said. “Probably the way it should be for the city of Chicago. Cardinals-Cubs are going to open the city back up.”

Hoyer said he found the return of even a small number of fans refreshing, but hearing them sing “Go, Cubs, Go” after completing a series sweep against the Padres this month drove home how important the crowds are.

“It kind of made me feel like, ‘Remember what you had forgotten,’ ” Hoyer said.

After spending all of 2020 in empty stadiums, the small number of fans in the first weeks of this season helped, but Cubs players shared excitement about seeing a full crowd again. Clear, sunny skies and a first-pitch temperature of 84 degrees made the setting nearly idyllic.

“Especially with the weather today, not cold at all, it feels like Puerto Rico,” Javy Baez said before the game. “All of the fans are going to be really excited to see us, and we’re obviously excited to see them, too.”

Injury report

Catcher P.J. Higgins went on the 10-day injured list with a strained right forearm, and Jose Lobaton was selected from Triple-A Iowa. Dakota Chalmers was designated for assignment.

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