Rolling Rizzo swats pair of 2-run homers

Cubs slugger has five dingers in five games for second time in career

Rolling Rizzo swats pair of 2-run homers

CINCINNATI -- Anthony Rizzo is on a roll.

The Cubs' first baseman hit two home runs in Sunday's 9-0 win over the Reds, connecting on a pair of two-run shots in the first and third innings. He now has five in five games for the second time in his career, and eight for the season, which matches his career high for one month. He also hit eight homers in April 2013 and in July 2014.

Both of Rizzo's home runs Sunday came on 94-mph fastballs from the Reds' Alfredo Simon, and the second blast was off the first pitch. Rizzo is 6-for-10 on the first pitch, and five of those hits have been home runs.

"I'm going up there ready to hit," Rizzo said. "I'm not going to give anyone a free strike. Just go up there ready to hit, that's been my approach my whole life."

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Rizzo now has 109 home runs as a Cub to move into sole possession of 18th place on the team's all-time home run list, passing Shawon Dunston (107). Only four left-handed hitters have more home runs than Rizzo in Cubs history: Billy Williams (392), Bill Nicholson (205), Mark Grace (148) and Leon Durham (138).

Rizzo is the first Cubs player with eight home runs through the first 19 games of the season since Williams did so in 1970.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon hinted that Rizzo had made some changes recently with hitting coach John Mallee and assistant Eric Hinske, but the first baseman downplayed that.

"It's just baseball," Rizzo said. "I opened up my stance a little bit but nothing out of the ordinary."

He's only batting .203, but Rizzo has a .360 on-base percentage and .580 slugging percentage.

"The formula is there," Rizzo said. "I tell everyone here, good hitters eliminate their Oh-fers. Continue to get on base, grind out at-bats and usually everything takes care of itself."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.