Bryant scores on wild romp around bases
Two-run double turns into Little League home run for Cubs' top prospect
PITTSBURGH -- In his fourth big league game, the Cubs' Kris Bryant logged his first Little League home run.
With two on and two outs in the seventh Monday night and the Cubs tied at 1 with the Pirates, Bryant lofted a double to the base of the outfield wall in left-center. Both runs scored and Bryant advanced to third on the throw home. But he rounded third, and as the Pirates tried to track him down, the rookie kept going, scampering home and scoring on an error by Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli.
"I don't think I've ever, ever had one of those, run around the bases," Bryant said after the Cubs' 5-2 win. "I was pretty tired after it. That's what [Anthony Rizzo] told me -- 'You just hit a Little League home run.' It was pretty fun."
Bryant also smacked a game-tying RBI single in the fifth and added a single in the ninth. The three RBIs and three hits in one game were a career high. Of course, it was only his fourth game in the Majors.
"You talk about all the hits he had, but I like that he's accepting his walks and not chasing," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Those are the reasons he's hitting so well. A lot of times when a guy struggles at the plate, he wants to change his mechanics. Most of the time he has to change what he's swinging at or what he's taking. Right now -- that first game, he had a tough game [and struck out three times] -- but since then he's been laying off the bad pitches and he's making them throw it over the plate."
Since going 0-for-4 in his Major League debut Friday at Wrigley Field, Bryant is 6-for-10 with two doubles and four RBIs, and he has struck out once. He's also drawn four walks.
"My whole career so far, when I'm walking, things turn the corner," Bryant said. "Since that first game [Friday], I told myself be a little more patient, look for stuff in the zone and put good swings on it, and I think I've been doing that."
Next on the list: his first big league home run.
"I don't need to add to this guy's hype," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "This guy is a good player. He's got a good baseball swing, he's got leverage in it. He works the ball to the big part of the field, it's not like it's dead-pull. Yeah, he looked pretty comfortable in the box."
Maddon would agree, saying Bryant has a "very nice slow heartbeat going on" now.
"Coming out of Spring Training, it just seemed like he was that guy," Maddon said. "He's not going to be overly impressed or concerned or enamored or starry eyed. He's just going to come play baseball, and that's what he does."