Anthony Rizzo came back from an injury and picked up right where he left off against the Cincinnati Reds.
He could be challenged to keep it going for the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field against Johnny Cueto, however.
Rizzo had missed 18 games with a strained lower back before returning Monday and homering in the ninth inning of a 1-0 victory over Cincinnati - the second in three games for the Cubs (66-84) following a seven-game skid.
He struck out in his first two at-bats before recording an infield single and eventually providing the walk-off hit.
"He hasn't had the luxury of actually going out on a rehab assignment and seeing live pitching again in terms of game-type situations," manager Rick Renteria said. "He certainly made the adjustment in his last at-bat."
The first baseman - who also singled in the series opener - has hit .366 with eight homers and 10 RBIs over his last 11 games against the Reds. His 31 home runs trail only Giancarlo Stanton's 37 in the NL despite his absence.
He's had a difficult time against Cueto, though, going 2 for 18 with five strikeouts. One of those hits came in Cueto's last matchup with the Cubs when Rizzo took him deep in the first inning of Chicago's 3-0 win Aug. 26.
Cueto (18-8, 2.15 ERA) will attempt to match his career high for victories and tie Clayton Kershaw for the major league lead. He's won three straight while limiting opponents to three runs over 23 innings.
He yielded a season low-tying three hits over eight innings Thursday in a 1-0 win over St. Louis, bolstered by Jay Bruce robbing a would-be home run.
The Cubs could face an uphill battle if they can't strike early against the right-hander, who has allowed a .250 batting average in the first inning but .194 afterward.
"I don't know what happens, but every time in the first inning I get kind of goofy," Cueto, who walked and hit the first two batters he faced Thursday, told MLB's official website.
Cueto is seven strikeouts shy of tying Jose Rijo's 1993 mark for the most by a Reds pitcher since Mario Soto struck out 242 in 1983. Cueto's 220 are 50 more than his previous career high of 170 from 2012.
He had been 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA in his previous seven starts versus Chicago before splitting two matchups this year while surrendering five runs in 12 2-3 innings.
The Reds (71-80) have dropped three of four and are 4 for 28 with runners in scoring position while totaling 10 runs over their last five. They managed just three hits Monday for the third time in eight games and Billy Hamilton fell to 3 for 17 in his last five.
"We tried to create scoring opportunities, but they just wouldn't give in," manager Bryan Price said.
They'll dig in against Jake Arrieta (8-5, 2.82), who is 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA over his last four home starts. He struggled in a 7-2 loss at Cincinnati on Aug. 28, surrendering six runs over four innings. However, he has held opponents to three runs over 12 1-3 innings in two starts since.
Chicago's Jorge Soler was 1 for 3 in the opener after missing three games for the birth of his child.