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Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo ends leadoff streak at seven games

Anthony Rizzo is the only player in the last 60 years to reach safely to start the first inning in his first seven career leadoff appearances.

His streak ended there Wednesday, when the Cubs first baseman flew out out to Padres right fielder Hunter Renfroe on a 3-0 pitch.

Rizzo had reached base in the first inning in his last seven games, all as the leadoff hitter. He hit three home runs, a double, two singles and a walk.

The only other Cubs player to reach seven times in a row since 1946 was Richie Ashburn, from June 28 to July 3, 1960.

Anthony Rizzo on trying to climb the mountain in 2017 like the Cubs did a year ago: "This year we’re taking the steeper route. It’s a different journey, but we just want to get to the top.” (AP)

“I didn’t anticipate all this,” manager Joe Maddon said before the game. “I thought he could shake us up a little bit, but he’s really shaken us up well.”

Maddon wouldn’t rule out keeping him in the leadoff spot.

“Honestly, I’m just keeping an open mind, I really am,” he said. “Going into it, I did not have a set number of games to be able to do it … I have a very open mind about all this. Just see where it goes eventually.

“A lot of it is dependent upon other guys surfacing. If there’s somebody who all of a sudden gets hot and you think he can do something differently, than I might. But otherwise, I’m just going to leave it alone for a bit.”

Rizzo started Wednesday even after Austin Hedges, with whom he collided Monday night in a slide the Padres called dirty, continued to sit out with a thigh injury.

The Padres did not retaliate by hitting Rizzo on Tuesday, with manager Andy Green going so far as to meet with starter Jhoulys Chacin to warn him not to hit the Cubs first baseman.

Green defended the decision Wednesday, telling reporters that he didn’t think it was prudent to bean Rizzo.