Jackson, Rizzo back to help spoiler effort

CHICAGO -- Battered and bruised, but not broken, the Chicago Cubs saw two of their young players return to action Friday and contribute to a victory.

Brett Jackson was back at it on defense, throwing his body around the outfield, and Anthony Rizzo delivered at the plate in a 7-4 victory over the wild-card contending Pittsburgh Pirates.

Jackson had missed five games after crashing into the center field fence at Pittsburgh and suffering a bruised knee. Rizzo missed a game after he collided with Astros first-baseman Brett Wallace on Tuesday night at Houston.

Both were still feeling soreness but were good enough to get back at it.

“It’s like when your boys slug you in the thigh and you feel it for five minutes and then you’re fine,” Jackson said. “Those five minutes were five days for me, but I’m ready to go.”

Ready to go indeed as Jackson once again ignored the potential for injury and dove for a ball in shallow left-center field. Replays showed he actually trapped the ball, but the umpires ruled it was a catch and nobody on the Pirates bench disputed the call.

“You got to play the game all out,” Jackson said. “It’s the only way I know how. I’ll try to be careful with the brick behind the ivy (at Wrigley Field) but other than that I’m going to go for those balls because those balls are important.”

Rizzo was back doing what he does with the bat as he contributed a two-run double in a three-run fourth inning that gave the Cubs an early lead.

“I feel like I was still in an accident but it’s good to go,” Rizzo said. “It’s only soreness so it’s not like I’m hurt or anything.”

Cubs manager Dale Sveum was happy to see his young players return, especially because it means the development can continue.

“That was a huge hit (for Rizzo) off a lefty with the bases loaded because we haven’t done too well in that situation,” Sveum said. “And Jackson’s defense has been outstanding since he’s been here.”

Jackson’s offense still needs some time. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and now has 50 strikeouts in 98 at-bats since being called up to the major leagues.