I-Cubs' Rizzo double-dips yet again

Chicago's top prospect hits sixth, seventh homers of season

Anthony Rizzo has seven homers in 12 Triple-A games. (Kevin Hill/MiLB.com)

By Ashley Marshall / Special to MLB.com | April 19, 2012 9:08 PM ET

Save a place on Noah's Ark for top Cubs prospect Anthony Rizzo, because he's hitting his homers two by two.

MLB.com's No. 37 prospect continued his hot start to the new campaign, slugging a pair of longballs and plating three runs in Iowa's 4-3 loss to Albuquerque on Thursday.

"It was just one of those nights," Rizzo said. "I felt comfortable at the plate, but when the team doesn't get the win, nobody else is happy and jolly."

It was the ninth multi-homer game of Rizzo's career and his third in the first two weeks of the season. The last time he put up big numbers in the Pacific Coast League he finished the season on a Major League roster.

He hit a two-run homer to right-center field off John Ely in the first inning and he added a solo shot -- his league-best seventh homer of the year -- off the Isotopes right-hander to start the fourth.

"I got a first-pitch changeup and then a second-pitch fastball and I got it really well," Rizzo said of his first homer of the night.

"Then my approach was to be really aggressive, because last year I got caught being too passive after I had a couple hits. I wasn't trying to do too much, but I got a first-pitch cutter on the inner half of the plate. I'm always trying to hit fastballs. That's how you make all your money in this game."

The 21-year-old had two chances to hit his third roundtripper, but he walked in the sixth and grounded out in the eighth. Both times he represented the potential tying run.

"I was just trying to get on," he said. "We were down by a run, so you can't be thinking about a home run because you probably won't get it. They know what they're doing. If you change your approach, they'll get you out."

Acquired by the Chicago Cubs in a four-player deal with the San Diego Padres in January, Rizzo raised his average to .393 in the loss. He has hit safely in six of his last seven games. His 16 RBIs are tied for sixth in the Minors.

Last season, the former sixth-round Draft pick batted .331 with 26 homers and 101 RBIs for the Triple-A Tucson Padres before earning a callup to San Diego. Right now, his focus is entirely on succeeding in Iowa.

"This year is all about staying within myself and taking it one day at a time," he explained. "I can't control [a promotion] so I have to go inning by inning and at-bat by at-bat and see where that takes me."

In his six-year career, Rizzo has recorded a multi-homer game for three different organizations.

He smacked two homers for Iowa in a 10-6 win over the 'Topes on April 9 and he went yard twice against the Round Rock Express in a 6-5 triumph on April 13. Rizzo also victimized Albuquerque last spring with Tucson when he homered twice and plated five runs, and he accomplished the feat twice each with Salem and Portland -- affiliates of the Boston Red Sox -- in 2010. He also had a two-homer game with Greenville in '09.

On Thursday, Isotopes starter Ely (1-1) earned the win despite Rizzo's two homers. He gave up three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out seven batters over seven innings.

Iowa's Travis Wood (1-1) picked up the loss after surrendering four runs on nine hits and a walk over 6 1/3 frames. He struck out five batters as the Cubs lost three straight games for the first time this season.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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