Two nights in a row, Anthony Rizzo has made a major impact on Chicago Cubs wins with efforts that don't stand out in the boxscore.
Rizzo beat out a potential double play by hustling to first base Monday, and teammate Javier Baez followed with a two-run homer. The next night, Rizzo worked a 17-pitch at-bat before lining out, and Baez followed with another two-run shot.
That helped the Cubs cruise to a 9-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday for their fifth win in six games. Chicago increased its lead in the NL Central to 3 1/2 games over Milwaukee, which lost at home to last-place Cincinnati.
Daniel Murphy also hit a two-run homer as the Cubs jumped out to a big early lead. Mike Montgomery (5-5) allowed a run and four hits with a season-high eight strikeouts in six innings for his first win since Aug. 7.
The slumping Diamondbacks dropped six games behind the first-place Dodgers in the NL West and six back of St. Louis for the second wild card. They have lost four in a row and nine of 11.
The Cubs built a 5-0 lead after their first two turns at bat.
In the first inning, Baez drove a 2-0 pitch from Matt Andriese onto the pool deck in right-center. Baez's 33rd home run gave him 107 RBIs this season.
Ian Happ knocked in Jason Heyward with a second-inning double before Murphy, who scored three times, hit his 11th home run of the season.
Rizzo added a two-run single in a four-run fifth.
Ketel Marte homered in the second for Arizona, his 12th. But the Diamondbacks' season that got off to a great start appears on the verge of ending with no return to the postseason.
Andriese (3-6) lasted two innings and was charged with five runs on five hits in a bullpen game for Arizona. Four other pitchers appeared.