Sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals for the first time in four years would be all the more fulfilling.
The Cubs try to stay hot as they wrap up a three-game set against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field on Sunday night.
After holding on for a 6-5 win in Friday's series opener, Chicago (11-17) got by St. Louis 3-0 on Saturday for its season-best third consecutive victory. Junior Lake's two-run homer broke a scoreless tie in the sixth inning and Rizzo went deep for the third straight game, adding some insurance with a solo shot in the eighth.
Rizzo has keyed the win streak, going 4 for 7 with six RBIs, six runs, six walks and no strikeouts.
"We know we're a good team," Rizzo said. "It's just about getting the wins. Today we got the win. The last few days we've gotten a win. It's just about staying with it, keep battling."
The Cubs, who hadn't won a series since taking two of three at Cincinnati in September, last swept the Cardinals in September 2010 in St. Louis. They haven't swept the Cardinals at home since July 2006.
"Don't want to get too high. It's very difficult to win a big league ball game, and we need to make sure we keep our feet on the ground," manager Rick Renteria said. "Is it good to put these two games behind us, sure. But again, it's a long season. We've got to maintain our approach, keep playing the game of baseball.
"There's going to be peaks and valleys, but right now, we're in a good place."
Chicago will try to keep rolling behind Jason Hammel (4-1, 2.08 ERA), who has recorded a quality start in each of his first five turns in the rotation. The right-hander has struck out 27 and walked seven over 34 2-3 innings while holding opponents to a .144 average.
"You want to be that guy who is dependable and you know what you're going to get every time out," he told MLB's official website. "Now that I'm healthy, and feel like I can execute when I want to."
Hammel is looking to win a third consecutive start after surrendering three hits and striking out seven over seven-plus innings in last Sunday's 4-0 win at Milwaukee.
He's 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA against the Cardinals but hasn't faced them since 2011.
St. Louis (15-16), loser in nine of 13, fell below .500 for the first time since April 8 last season with its fourth straight road loss Saturday. The Cardinals have dropped six of seven away from home while totaling 13 runs and hitting .186 with runners in scoring position.
"You got to push through this," manager Mike Matheny said. "Whatever we're doing is not working, so we have to figure it out and figure it out fast."
St. Louis tries to regroup behind Lance Lynn (4-1, 3.60), who allowed three runs over five innings in Tuesday's 5-4, 11-inning defeat to Milwaukee.
The right-hander could bounce back on the road, where he's gone 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA while striking out 32 in 24 innings. He is 1-2 with a 7.71 ERA in his last three starts at Wrigley, though.
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, 10 for 20 with five RBIs in his last five games, is 10 for 27 with four extra-base hits against Lynn. Rizzo was 1 for 14 in their matchups last year.
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