CHICAGO (AP) — While Buster Posey and the San Francisco Giants are fighting for the NL West title, Anthony Rizzo and the Chicago Cubs have their own magic number.
Alfonso Soriano hit a two-run homer that landed on Waveland Avenue and Rizzo added a solo shot, helping Chris Volstad and the Cubs beat the weary Giants 6-4 on Friday.
Soriano also had a two-out RBI single in the first as Chicago (51-80) closed out a miserable August with a second consecutive win. The Cubs, practically locked into fifth place in the NL Central, are hoping to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1966.
"I know it's something that I don't want to be a part of," Rizzo said. "I think the magic number's down to 12 wins now. I was talking about it today. We're not going to lose 100 games. It's something we're all motivated not to do."
Posey went 3 for 3 with two RBIs for San Francisco, which had won a season-high six consecutive road games. Pablo Sandoval had a sacrifice fly and Hunter Pence drove in a run with a groundout.
The Giants rallied for an 8-4 victory in Houston on Thursday night, then arrived in Chicago around 3 a.m. They mostly stayed in the visitors' clubhouse while the Cubs took batting practice, but they looked listless for much of the muggy afternoon at Wrigley Field.
"You play indoors in AC, come in at 3, 3:30 in the morning," manager Bruce Bochy said. "And it's not just the heat, it's how humid it is out there. It's a tough day. Guys were battling back. Fighting back and get the tying run up there. Just couldn't quite get it done."
It was still quite a month for San Francisco, which went 18-11 in August to increase its division lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was the most victories for the Giants in a single month since they had 18 in September 2010, and they went on to win the World Series that year.
Volstad (2-9) allowed two runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings for his second consecutive victory after a 24-start winless streak. The 6-foot-8 right-hander pitched into the seventh against Colorado on Sunday for his first win since July 10, 2011, for the Marlins against Houston.
"I felt pretty good today starting out, but the weather kinda took a little bit on me as the game kept going on," Volstad said. "I think it really did help my sinker though, as it was down and it was moving."
Madison Bumgarner (14-9) won three of his first four August starts for San Francisco, but ended up dropping his last two after another ineffective outing against Chicago.
The left-hander retired the first two batters in the third before the Cubs strung together four consecutive hits to build a 5-0 lead. Rizzo got it started with a single to center and Soriano followed with a drive to left on an 0-2 pitch for his 24th homer. Starlin Castro then singled and scored all the way from first on Welington Castillo's double to the gap in left-center.