Rizzo's power helps Hendricks beat Giants

Rizzo's power helps Hendricks beat Giants

CHICAGO -- It's been home runs or nothing lately for Anthony Rizzo, who notched his 14th career multi-homer game with two solo shots, doing so against lefty Matt Moore, to power the Cubs to a 5-4 victory over the Giants on Wednesday night.

Rizzo now has five hits in his last four games, and four of them have been home runs. The two Wednesday were enough to give Kyle Hendricks the win as he went seven innings in his longest outing of the season. The Cubs have won six of their last eight games and hit 17 home runs in that span.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com 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.

Butler to face Giants with special connection

Butler to face Giants with special connection

Eddie Butler will probably be more focused on what a different Giants pitcher is doing come Thursday, but that doesn't mean he won't have another at least somewhere in the back of his mind.

Butler (1-0, 2.00 ERA), who will get the ball for the Cubs for the series finale against the Giants at Wrigley Field, was mentored from an early age by former Giants pitcher Gary Lavelle, who began giving him private lessons when Butler was 9 years old.

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Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs planning 'Anchorman' tribute road trip

Cubs planning 'Anchorman' tribute road trip

CHICAGO -- The Cubs have kept the extracurricular activities to a minimum this season, unless you count David Ross' performance in "Dancing with the Stars." On Thursday, they will have their first theme trip.

"It's the Ron Burgundy slash Brick Tamland -- and I also wanted to include Tommy La Stella tribute -- road trip, where 60 percent of the time works every time, sponsored by 'Sex Panther' cologne trip," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com 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.

Cubs muscle past Giants to back Lester

Cubs muscle past Giants to back Lester

CHICAGO -- When Jon Lester and Johnny Cueto last squared off, it was Game 1 of the National League Division Series, and the Cubs won on Javier Baez's eighth-inning home run. On Tuesday, the Cubs didn't wait that long to connect against the Giants right-hander.

Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward homered in the first and second innings, respectively, and Anthony Rizzo added a two-run shot in the fourth to give Lester all he needed and power the Cubs to a 4-1 victory Tuesday night over the Giants.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com 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.

Lester goes distance with 4-hitter, 10 K's

Lester goes distance with 4-hitter, 10 K's

CHICAGO -- Jon Lester heard the talk about Johnny Cueto. The Cubs left-hander wasn't leaving Wrigley Field without reminding everyone he's just as lethal.

"I'm not too shabby, right?" Lester joked after a 4-1 Cubs win Tuesday. "I've had a decent career."

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Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Olympic gymnast Liukin did flip before first pitch

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Olympic gymnast Liukin did flip before first pitch

The same rules that govern pitching in a regulation baseball game do not apply to ceremonial first pitches. Balk rules in particular do not apply to ceremonial first pitchers. They don't need to even pitch from the mound, let alone maintain contact with the rubber during delivery.

Olympic gold medialist in gymnastics Nastia Liukin took advantage of that relaxation of the rules during her first pitch prior to the Cubs' 4-1 win Tuesday night against the Giants.

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Statcast of the Day: Schwarber's 470-foot HR

Statcast of the Day: Schwarber's 470-foot HR

CHICAGO -- Kyle Schwarber's home run Tuesday night boldly went where none have gone before -- at least this year.

The Cubs slugger launched a home run onto Sheffield Avenue behind the right-field bleachers at Wrigley Field with one out in the first inning off the Giants' Johnny Cueto to spark a 4-1 victory, prompting manager Joe Maddon to have a flashback.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com 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.

Ross' DWTS run ended with a 2nd-place finish

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Ross' DWTS run ended with a 2nd-place finish

Usually a Tuesday night in May doesn't matter much to a baseball player. Sure, they may want to win the game, but it's not a do-or-die situation.

That wasn't the case for David Ross. The former Cubs catcher-turned-pop culture icon used his quickly improving dance skills and a ravenous Cubs fanbase to reach the "Dancing With the Stars" finals. 

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Cubs bullpen begins new dancing tradition

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Cubs bullpen begins new dancing tradition

There's a fever going on around Wrigley Field -- a dance fever.

Partially inspired by former teammate David Ross' deep run on "Dancing with the Stars," the Cubs just can't stop grooving. Their bullpen recently had a dance-off with the Brewers' crew during a rain delay. Now, as mentioned in the clip above, the Cubs' relievers have taken to dancing anytime the team does something big on offense or defense.

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Heyward takes charge with rookie in center

Heyward takes charge with rookie in center

CHICAGO -- Usually, the center fielder is the field general during a game, but right fielder Jason Heyward is the boss in the Cubs outfield.

"Watch Jason," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday. "He really has a lot of movement, some of it subtle, but there's movement per pitch, per hitter, and it's all on his own, it's all instinctive stuff. While he's doing that, he's making sure center field is in concert with him."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com 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.

Wright sets up auction for Texas tornado relief

Hitting coach for Cubs' Myrtle Beach affiliate aided by Rizzo, Sandberg

Wright sets up auction for Texas tornado relief

CHICAGO -- When Ty Wright saw the devastation in East Texas caused by tornadoes last month, he became concerned about whether friends and family were safe. The hitting coach for Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach, Wright then decided to do something to try to help the people restore their lives.

With the help of his former Minor League teammate, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, plus former coach Ryne Sandberg and ex-teammate Jordy Mercer, Wright has organized an auction to help support the Van Zandt County (Texas) Tornado Relief Fund. There is an online auction that begins Monday and runs through June 3, and a silent auction May 31-June 3 at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com 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.

Cubs' power rally comes up short vs. Giants

Cubs' power rally comes up short vs. Giants

CHICAGO -- Joe Panik, Brandon Belt and Justin Ruggiano continued the Giants' trend to pepper teams with solo home runs on Monday night. The trio each hit a leadoff homer in the first, fifth and eighth innings, respectively, to power the Giants to a 6-4 victory over the Cubs and get a little payback in the first meeting between the two teams since the National League Division Series.

Ty Blach got the win in his seventh start subbing for injured Madison Bumgarner, although the Cubs made it interesting with a four-run eighth. The lefty cruised through seven innings and had a 6-0 lead, then gave up a leadoff single to Jason Heyward in the eighth, and Javier Baez followed with his seventh home run. Pinch-hitter Ian Happ tripled to chase Blach, and Ben Zobrist greeted Derek Law with another two-run homer.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

David Ross gets perfect score on DWTS finale

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David Ross gets perfect score on DWTS finale

After an inspiring run that kept us all glued to our television sets or mobile devices every Monday, Cubs World Series hero David Ross made it to the "Dancing with the Stars" finale.

As improbable as it may have seemed at some points, Ross and partner Lindsay Arnold (a.k.a. #TeamLadyAndTheGramp) found themselves going head-to-head against the duos made up of Rashad Jennings/Emma Slater and Normani Kordei/Val Chmerkovskiy for the ultimate DWTS throne. 

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Statcast of the Day: Almora's 4-star catch

Cubs center fielder overcomes wind to rob extra-base hit

Statcast of the Day: Almora's 4-star catch

CHICAGO -- Joe Maddon wanted Albert Almora Jr. in the lineup Monday night because of his defense to back up John Lackey, and the Cubs center fielder proved his manager's call correct in the first inning with a stellar catch.

The Giants' Joe Panik led off the game with a home run, but Cubs shortstop Addison Russell made a great stop on Christian Arroyo's hard-hit ball and got him in time. Almora then topped Russell with a beautiful grab of Brandon Belt's fly ball in center, snaring the ball while fully extended in the air.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com 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.

Zobrist explains his approach to leading off

Cubs call up Rosscup, replacing Floro in bullpen

Zobrist explains his approach to leading off

CHICAGO -- The Cubs' Ben Zobrist sees only two main differences with hitting atop the batting order than anywhere else. The first is a dilemma. The second is in the execution.

Zobrist said moving to the leadoff spot can be harder for some players because it can be difficult facing a pitcher before seeing any pitches to get the timing down. There's also a mental aspect that comes into play -- a dilemma every hitter faces when leading off.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Scott Chasen is a reporter with MLB.com based in Chicago.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Candelario homers again with Iowa

Candelario homers again with Iowa

After showing flashes of dominance during his first four starts, left-hander Cionel Perez put it all together on Monday for Class A Quad Cities with an unhittable performance.

The Astros' No. 16 prospect was electric in his best professional start, tossing seven hitless frames with 10 strikeouts, both career highs, as Quad Cities defeated Peoria, 5-1. He issued one walk en route to facing one over the minimum, while throwing 54 of his 87 pitches for strikes.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zambrano throws fast first pitch at Wrigley

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Zambrano throws fast first pitch at Wrigley

An old friend stopped by Wrigley Field prior to the Cubs-Giants game on Monday night. Carlos Zambrano made three All-Star teams and spent 11 of his 12 Major League seasons calling the Friendly Confines his home. He won three division titles there, as well.

At 35 years old and just five years removed from hist last MLB pitch, Zambrano showed no signs of rust on the mound. He even brought his glove with him!

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MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Hendricks turns corner after shaky start

Cubs right-hander is 2-1 with 1.82 ERA in past five starts

Hendricks turns corner after shaky start

CHICAGO -- When you're a fan, your job is to freak out. So far there have been plenty of reasons for Cubs fans to be anxious about the club's chances at another World Series run.

But here's a piece of advice on one of those front: Stop worrying about Kyle Hendricks.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Caratini makes Pipeline Team of the Week

Caratini makes Pipeline Team of the Week

MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances in the Minor Leagues from the previous seven days. Any player on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible.

This week's Prospect Team of the Week features our first two repeat performers, an organization hitting the list for the first time and the youngest player to make the team so far this year.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Arrieta shows improvement in escaping jams

Right-hander successfully thwarts threats to put together strong start

Arrieta shows improvement in escaping jams

CHICAGO -- Jake Arrieta wasn't perfect, but when he couldn't afford any more mistakes, he delivered. Again and again and again and again.

Working around runners in scoring position in five different innings, Arrieta flustered the Brewers' bats in key moments to escape his Sunday start with only one unearned run allowed. The Cubs reaped the benefits, going on to win, 13-6, as Arrieta picked up his first win since May 3.

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Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Theo gave an inspiring speech at Yale

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Theo gave an inspiring speech at Yale

Theo Epstein graduated from Yale in 1995. As befits his status as "World's Greatest Leader," he joined the ranks of such luminaries as Joe Biden, John Kerry and Tom Hanks by returning to the campus to speak at Class Day.

He tossed at least one Maddon-ism into his speech, telling students, "if you look hot, wear it." As you can see above, they seem to have anticipated the remark, since at least one third of them appear to be wearing emoji hats.

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Bryant's HRs, big bats lead Cubs past Crew

Bryant's HRs, big bats lead Cubs past Crew

CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant hit two of the Cubs' four home runs in a 13-6 rout of the Brewers on Sunday at Wrigley Field, making it clear the defending World Series champions do not intend to let upstart Milwaukee run away with the National League Central.

Ben Zobrist and Anthony Rizzo also homered, and Willson Contreras collected three hits and three RBIs as the Cubs scored in every inning but the second to back Jake Arrieta for a split of the rain-shortened series. Chicago remained two games behind first-place Milwaukee by handing the Brewers only the third loss in their past 13 games.

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Scott Chasen is a reporter with MLB.com and covered the Cubs on Sunday.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Recapping Ross' journey to the DWTS finale

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Recapping Ross' journey to the DWTS finale

While you were watching the thrilling Cubs-Indians World Series last fall, would the phrase "David Ross is in the 'Dancing with the Stars' finale" have made any sense whatsoever?

The answer to the above question is "no," but that's the world we live in now. On Monday, the 2016 Cubs' elder statesman/team grandfather will go head-to-head with the last two contestants (Normani Kordei and Rashad Jennings) on the dance competition show for a shot at the ultimate title (ABC, 8/7 CT). 

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Cubs activate Heyward; Happ stays up

Cubs activate Heyward; Happ stays up

CHICAGO -- Jason Heyward didn't have the wrong idea, he was just off by a day.

After declaring he'd be returning Saturday and the subsequent rainout of Saturday's game, Heyward was activated from the 10-day disabled list and inserted back into the lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Brewers. The club also recalled right-hander Dylan Floro from Triple-A Iowa, optioning Tommy La Stella and right-hander Pierce Johnson to Triple-A.

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Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Despite slipping, Schwarber holds on for catch

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Despite slipping, Schwarber holds on for catch

Kyle Schwarber may be known more for his bat than his glove, but it's certainly not for lack of effort.

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Maddon: 'We just haven't played our game yet'

Manager not concerned by defending champs' slow start

Maddon: 'We just haven't played our game yet'

CHICAGO -- Joe Maddon isn't fretting his team's slow start. It's just the opposite, actually.

With Saturday's game postponed due to weather, the Cubs' manager took advantage of the off-day. His schedule consisted of some rest and relaxation, even though the downpour didn't quite materialize in the way it was expected.

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Scott Chasen is a reporter with MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zagunis, Caratini come up big for Iowa

Zagunis, Caratini come up big for Iowa

Scott Kingery has found his power stroke.

The Phillies' No. 11 prospect hit a pair of solo homers, in the seventh and ninth innings, as part of a 4-for-5 day, but it was not enough for Double-A Reading as the Fightin Phils fell 8-7 to New Hampshire.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.