Rapid Reaction: Cubs 5, Mets 3

June, 26, 2012
6/26/12
10:41
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs kicked off life with Anthony Rizzo in fine fashion Tuesday, beating the New York Mets 5-3 to give themselves a chance at a three-game sweep Wednesday.

How it happened: Rizzo didn’t disappoint in his Cubs debut with an infield single in his first at-bat and an RBI double in his third. He made a productive out in his second at-bat when he moved two runners into scoring position with a groundout. Randy Wells struggled, giving up three runs on six hits and four walks in three-plus innings, but the bullpen picked up the slack.

What it means: The offense wasn’t great but it had a little better flow. Give Rizzo credit, especially on his two-out RBI in the fourth inning that gave the Cubs their 4-3 lead. Then again, plenty of help came from the Mets defense. They made three errors in one inning Monday and let an insurance run score in the ninth inning Tuesday on a throwing error by Ruben Tejada.

Outside the box: Wells’ four walks gave him eight in two outings since he took over a spot in the rotation after Ryan Dempster went on the disabled list. Dempster is expected to miss one more start, but Wells isn’t expected to make it. Said manager Dale Sveum before the game: “Obviously this is one where we need him to step up and do what he can do, throw strikes, keep the ball down, but throw strikes. That's basically all he has to do.”

Off beat: The Rizzo excitement was expected, of course, as he got a little more recognition from the crowd than the rest of his teammates. It was effective. Take the first inning when an error was ruled on Rizzo’s hard bouncer to shortstop that was bobbled on a backhand by Tejada. Fans booed the scorekeeper’s call immediately and it was quickly changed to a single. The cheering was a little overzealous in the seventh inning when the volume rose sharply on Rizzo’s fly ball that was caught easily in front of the warning track.

Up next: The Cubs will send right-hander Jeff Samardzija to the mound Wednesday in the finale. The Mets will counter with left-hander Jonathon Niese (5-3, 3.75) in the 1:20 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Anthony Rizzo
BA HR RBI R
.285 25 55 68
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 25
RBIA. Rizzo 55
RA. Rizzo 68
OPSA. Rizzo .927
WJ. Hammel 8
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOJ. Hammel 104