Promoted from Triple-A Iowa on June 26, Rizzo is batting .300 with 14 home runs and 43 RBIs. He was leading the Pacific Coast League in nearly every offensive category when called up, hitting 23 home runs, 18 doubles, and batting .342. You do the math.
"The combination of what he's done in Triple-A and here is pretty impressive," Sveum said. "He went into a little lull there and figured some things out, and realized that he wasn't going to be [Tony] Campana, that he was going to be Anthony Rizzo up here."
Rizzo hit a two-run homer in the fifth and belted his go-ahead grand slam in a five-run sixth to help the Cubs reduce their magic number to five. Five more wins, and Chicago will avoid a 100-loss season, which the franchise has not done since 1966.
"I don't think [the slam] tops the walkoff [July 29 vs. the Cardinals] but it was a great game, well fought by all of us, all 25 or all 40 of us," Rizzo said. "We're showing some resilience."
The rookie first baseman is the first Cubs player with six RBIs in a game since Aramis Ramirez did so July 20, 2010, against the Astros.
Pedro Alvarez belted two home runs and drove in five runs and Rod Barajas added a two-run blast for the Pirates, who have their own goals. They're trying to finish with their first winning season since 1992. Pittsburgh now has lost 12 of its last 15 games, and Chicago has beaten the Pirates five times in that stretch.
Alfonso Soriano notched his 100th RBI in the first when he singled to drive in Rizzo, and added No. 101 with a RBI double in the eighth. It's the third time he's reached the century mark, and first since 2005.
"I'm just feeling good," Soriano said. "I had a lot of opportunities to drive guys in. I'm very happy with what I did. Personally, it's good, but it's not enough. It could be better if we had a winning record. Now, everybody is trying to have fun the last two, three weeks of the season."
Barajas homered in the second, and Alvarez made it 5-1 with his 28th home run in the fifth. Both came off starter Chris Volstad, who gave up 10 hits and walked four over 4 2/3 innings.
The Pirates' Jeff Locke was vying for his first big league win, but with one out in the fifth, he served up Joe Mather's home run. Darwin Barney then singled and Rizzo homered to close to 6-4. Soriano then singled to chase Locke. One out later, Welington Castillo hit an RBI single off Chris Resop.
"Mather jumped on that ball and smacked it," Locke said. "And Rizzo, you've got to respect Rizzo. Any time he's at the plate, he's such a presence in the box."
So is Alvarez, who homered off rookie Jeff Beliveau with two on and two outs in the sixth to give the Pirates a 9-5 lead. Pittsburgh leads the National League with 97 home runs on the road, which is the second highest total in team history behind the 1966 team, which hit 110.
Chicago loaded the bases with none out in the sixth. Barney hit an RBI single, and Rizzo then launched a 3-1 pitch from Jared Hughes into the right field bleachers. Rizzo acknowledged the fans from the top of the dugout steps.
"I didn't realize that's what you do," Rizzo said. "That was pretty cool."
The pitching hero of the day was rookie Jaye Chapman. Starling Marte tripled to lead off the Pirates seventh, but Neal Walker lined out to Barney, and Chapman got McCutchen to strike out looking at a 93 mph fastball. Garrett Jones walked, and then took off for second. Chapman was about to throw, but saw Marte break for home and threw to Castillo, who tagged the Pirates' speedster.
"I'm not even sure Garrett Jones knew he got picked off," Chapman said. "I looked at him, and his head was down. I looked at second base, and a thought ran through my head, 'Hey, that guy's going to score,' and I turned around and sure enough, Marte had taken off. I was like, 'Just make the throw and let's get out of here.'"
"He showed me a lot today, that's for sure," Sveum said of Chapman.
So did Rizzo. If he was in a little funk, it was short-lived. He's over it.
"You work every day hard, and there are days you're going to feel good and days you're not going to feel good," Rizzo said. "You go with the flow, and understand it's part of the game."
Imagine what he could do if he played a full season.