Bryant's blast boosts Cubs to victory over A's
|Sunday, August 7, 2016, 7:19 PM- -|
OAKLAND -- Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant put together a fantastic rookie season in 2015, hitting 26 home runs on his way to claiming the National League Rookie of the Year title. With a moonshot over the left field wall at the Oakland Coliseum in the sixth inning of today’s 3-1 Cubs victory over the Oakland Athletics, Bryant eclipsed that home run total and moved into a tie atop the NL home run standings with 27 overall.
Looking to collect their second consecutive series sweep, the Cubs (69-41) used power-hitting on Sunday afternoon to do so, as five of their ten hits off of Athletics (48-63) pitchers were extra-base hits. Entering today’s affair, the Cubs boasted the largest run differential (+180) in the majors, in addition to the fewest total runs allowed (373). Sunday afternoon’s game perfectly epitomized those statistics, with the Cubs dominating the A’s both at the plate and on the mound.
Bryant led off the top of the sixth with his rainmaker to left, and Jorge Soler, who was serving as the Cubs' designated hitter in the American League park this afternoon, reciprocated with a leadoff home run of his own in the ensuing inning. Soler’s homer chased A’s starter Sean Manaea from the game.
Aside from the two round-trippers, Manaea pitched well, allowing only six hits and striking out four in six innings of work. As for the Cubs’ starting pitcher, Kyle Hendricks, who was been pitching fairly well as of late, dominated the Athletics' batting order in his 7.1 innings on the mound, giving up three hits, zero walks and one run.
Manaea averted disaster twice in the early innings, as Cubs outfielders Ben Zobrist and Matt Szczur led off the second and third innings, respectively, with doubles. However, neither inning saw the Cubs bring home any runs.
The Cubs did capitalize off of a double in the top of the eighth, though, with first baseman Anthony Rizzo crushing a double to left that scored a runner from second to make the score 3-0 in favor of the North Siders. Coming off of A’s reliever Marc Rzepczynski, who had just entered the game, Rizzo’s double occurred with runners on first and second, and it resulted in the slugger’s 80th RBI of the year.
A’s shortstop Marcus Semien hit his 23rd long ball of the season in the bottom half of the eighth to pull Oakland to within two runs, but Chicago fireballer Aroldis Chapman took the hill in the bottom of the ninth and went three up, three down to end the game.
The Cubs’ 3-1 victory in the series finale against the A’s saw Hendricks (11-7) come away with a victory of his own. Manaea (3-7), on the other hand, accrued a loss, and Chapman garnered his third save with the Cubs. The Cubs’ pitching staff, as a whole, was excellent on Sunday, allowing only four hits.
Chicago will now return home to battle the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (49-62) in a two-game series, beginning on Tuesday night at 8:05 PM EST. Veteran aces, as well as former teammates, John Lackey of the Cubs and Jered Weaver of the Angels will face off against one another on the mound in game one.