Renteria on Rizzo catch: 'It was the freaking greatest effort'

Renteria on Rizzo catch: 'It was the freaking greatest effort'
July 20, 2014, 8:15 pm
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PHOENIX — Anthony Rizzo now has the highlight-reel clip for a Gold Glove campaign.

But it’s been that kind of season for a Cubs team that’s 40-57 after getting swept out of the All-Star break: Rizzo made an amazing catch that should be on all the highlight shows, and it wound up helping the Arizona Diamondbacks score the go-ahead run in Sunday’s 3-2 loss at Chase Field.

Don’t blame Rizzo, who went all-out in the sixth inning, running over from first base, tracking the ball Aaron Hill popped up toward the visiting dugout. With runners on the corners and the game tied, 1-1, Rizzo hopped over the railing, extended his right arm and tumbled head over heels into the camera well. 

Rizzo threw the ball to home plate before getting to his feet and David Peralta hustled in from third base to score, but all that didn’t matter, per Rule 7.04 (c). The runners were entitled to another base once Rizzo carried the ball out of the field of play.

“Instincts take over there — you don’t really worry about it too much,” Rizzo said. “You want to stay in there, but then again, Aaron Hill had two good at-bats and we want to eliminate the big inning.

“I don’t think there’s any Cubs fan that wanted me to miss it, and any Diamondbacks fan that would want me to catch it there.”

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Rizzo had just blasted his 23rd homer in the sixth inning, a no-doubt shot that matched his total from last season. Cubs manager Rick Renteria then watched his franchise player flip over, avoiding what could have been a nightmare scenario.

“It was the freaking greatest effort,” Renteria said. “My heart sank down pretty deep. We got over there, and he got up right away. He’s a big, strong man. Thankfully, we’re very fortunate that he came out of that OK.

“You can’t fault him. You’re hoping it’s going to come back and stay in play. But his momentum and his focus on the ball carried him over.”

Jake Arrieta — who had held the Diamondbacks (43-56) scoreless through five innings — gave props to Rizzo.

“I was glad to see him come up on his own two feet,” Arrieta said. “That was a little scary, any time you see one of your best players have a situation like that. But he put all the effort in the world into that, and I don’t expect anything less from him.”