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Quintana, Cubs look to out-duel Cardinals

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Chicago Cubs starter Jose Quintana delivers a pitch to the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on June 17. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

By Jeff Arnold, The Sports Xchange

The top spot in the Chicago Cubs' lineup has often resembled a game of musical chairs this season.

But as hot as first baseman Anthony Rizzo has been as the leadoff hitter of late, manager Joe Maddon might have a difficult time moving Rizzo.

Before the All-Star break, Maddon pondered such a move.

"I just thought about it, and I thought there was no reason to change right now," Maddon told reporters, according to the Chicago Tribune.

[post_ads]Rizzo, who has been hot since breaking out of an 0-for-19 slump. went 4-for-5 in the nightcap of a Saturday doubleheader that the Cubs split with the rival St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cubs and Cardinals have split the first four games of the five-game set that wraps up Sunday at Wrigley Field. With Rizzo remaining hot at the top, the Cubs have followed suit and have won five of their last seven games.

"Right now, (Rizzo is) having a lot of fun with it," Maddon said. "He's doing very well. And we're doing well with it also."

Jose Quintana (8-6, 3.96 ERA) will try to keep the Cubs rolling as he closes out the series. He has won his last two starts and didn't allow a run on just three hits in six innings of his last outing against the San Francisco Giants. Quintana is 3-2 with a 2.81 ERA in six career starts against the Cardinals.

The Cardinals rallied to the win in Saturday's nightcap with a 6-3 victory after scoring three runs in the ninth inning. St. Louis picked up the split on a day when Matt Carpenter homered for his fifth and sixth consecutive games to establish a Cardinals season record.

Carpenter did not start Saturday's nightcap but homered in his first at-bat to get St. Louis within a run in the seventh inning to start the rally, which they finished in the ninth.

The Cubs won the first game 7-2 against a St. Louis bullpen that faltered.

All-Star Miles Mikolas will look to pick up where he left off before the All-Star break after posting a 10-3 record and a 2.79 ERA in the first half.

Mikolas has won three of his last four starts and took a no-decision in his last outing against the Cincinnati Reds, when he allowed three runs in six innings. Mikolas is 1-0 with three career appearances (one start) against the Cubs.

While Mikolas hopes to keep rolling, the Cardinals' rotation took a hit when Carlos Martinez was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right oblique strain. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Saturday that the extent of Martinez's injury will be determined as he rests.

Martinez received a localized anti-inflammatory shot on Friday, general manager Michael Girsch told reporters. According to the Post-Dispatch, Martinez will continue to travel with the team, but if the area does not respond to treatment, he may be forced to undergo an MRI.

"I'm trying to take care of myself, trying to not be hurt for a long time," Martinez said Saturday, according to the Post-Dispatch. "It's hard for me because I want to compete. I want to help myself and help my team."
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Sports - U.S. Daily News: Quintana, Cubs look to out-duel Cardinals
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