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Rizzo homers for Cubs in loss to Cardinals

Published: Sunday, April 13, 2014 7:44 p.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, April 13, 2014 9:34 p.m. CDT
Caption
The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo is congratulated by teammate Starlin Castro after Rizzo's two-run home run against the Cardinals in the first inning Sunday in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)

ST. LOUIS – First baseman Anthony Rizzo says the Cubs have a positive attitude.

And it begins with first-year manager Rick Renteria.

"It all starts with him," Rizzo said. "He's very upbeat, very positive. We've been staying in games and we know we're good and capable of winning them."

Rizzo hit a two-run homer in the first inning of the Cubs' 6-4 loss at St. Louis on Sunday.

The Cubs have dropped eight of their first 12 games, but Rizzo said the team is more aggressive than last season, when it got off to a 5-13 start and never recovered.

"A lot of it is guys improving," Rizzo said. "And we've got some new faces. You've got to keep grinding in close games and eventually we're going to flip it around and win some close ones.

I'm still very positive."

The Cubs battled back from a three-run deficit Sunday and put the tying runs on base against St. Louis closer Trevor Rosenthal.

"Every day we're in it until the end," Renteria said. "If we keep pushing, at some point, it's got to turn. I think if we were playing really bad baseball, I'd be concerned. But the reality is, we're showing a lot of fight and we're picking each other up."

St. Louis right-hander Michael Wacha overcame a 46-minute rain delay and Matt Carpenter drove in three runs, leading the Cardinals.

St. Louis has won four of six.

Chicago has lost three of four.

Rain has figured in all three of Wacha's starts this season. He actually seemed to embrace a third-inning downpour that halted play against the Cubs.

"I'm used to it," he said. "You just have to accept it and you've got to stay focused. I tried to stay loose and just keep my mind in what I needed to do."

Wacha's first start of the season was delayed in starting by 2 hours and 40 minutes. He endured a short 12-minute delay at the outset of his second outing.

Wacha (2-0) allowed three runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings Sunday. He gave up a two-run homer to Rizzo on the 16th pitch of the game, but allowed just one run and three hits the rest of the way. He struck out eight and walked one.

"At the start, I was a little erratic, but I was able to settle down a little bit," he said. "I got some quick innings and some quick outs."

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny says Wacha has the mental makeup to handle lengthy or short delays.

"He's strong and he knows what to do out there," Matheny said. "He keeps a good focus. I felt like his curveball was a lot better after the delay.

Carpenter hit a two-run single in the second inning and added a sacrifice fly in the fourth that put St. Louis ahead to stay at 4-3. He is tied with Yadier Molina for the team lead with nine RBIs.

"It felt good to get the job done," Carpenter said. "When you get up in those situations, you just try and put a good at-bat up there and I thought I did that."

Rosenthal gave up a run in the ninth, but retired Luis Valbuena and Emilio Bonifacio with the tying runs on base to pick up his fourth save in as many opportunities.

Chicago starter Edwin Jackson (0-1) allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked three in a grueling 114-pitch effort.

"I didn't feel too bad," Jackson said. "I threw a lot of pitches. I was behind in a lot of counts. They were aggressive, that's a good hitting team."

Jackson, like Rizzo, likes the makeup of the team.

"We definitely have a lot of fight in us," he said. "We might come up short sometimes, but we'll give 110 percent as a team."

Jhonny Peralta highlighted a two-run eighth with an RBI double that put St. Louis up 6-3.

After Carpenter singled in two runs in the second, he stole second and scored on Kolten Wong's single for a 3-2 lead.

The Cubs tied the game in the fourth on a run-scoring single by Welington Castillo.

Carpenter then gave St. Louis the lead for good with a sacrifice fly to left that brought in Peter Bourjos, who began the fourth inning with a triple.

"We did the things we had to at the right times to win," Carpenter said.

Trailing 4-3, Mike Olt led off the Cubs seventh with a double off Wacha. Castillo struck out and reliever Kevin Siegrist retired Darwin Barney and Bonifacio to end the threat.

Siegrist retired all five batters.

"We had some chances, just couldn't get hits at the right time," Rizzo said.

NOTES: The Cubs are winless in their past nine series. Their last series win came in September when they won two of three in Cincinnati. .... St. Louis begins a 10-game road trip Monday with the first of a three-game set in Milwaukee. Lance Lynn (2-0, 6.55 ERA) takes on Matt Garza (0-1, 2.57) in the opener. ... The Cubs conclude a five-game road trip with two games against the New York Yankees. Jason Hammel (2-0, 2.63) faces Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 3.21) in the first game on Tuesday. .... St. Louis C Yadier Molina has 11 hits in his past 22 at-bats, including two hits on Sunday.

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