Bryant 'wakes up' Cubs with dramatic blast
Rookie hits walk-off HR to beat Rockies Monday night
CHICAGO -- During Saturday's game against the Phillies' Cole Hamels, the Cubs' Kris Bryant hit two long fly balls that reached the warning track. Hamels finished with a no-hitter. But on Monday, Bryant's fortunes turned out a whole lot better.
The rookie belted a walk-off, two-run homer with two outs in the ninth to power the Cubs to a 9-8 victory over the Rockies, who had scored four runs in the top of the inning.
"The last three or four games, I've hit five or six to the warning track and that's obviously frustrating," Bryant said. "I believe in baseball gods and I believe they pay you back, and I guess I got one today. It worked out for us. It was a really good win, that's for sure."
The win snapped the Cubs' three-game losing streak, and was the team's Major League-leading 10th walk-off win, the most since they had 11 in 1996.
"I think it wakes us up a little bit," Bryant said. "I think we were nonchalant the last couple of games, myself included, but the energy of a walk-off win, a walk-off home run, I think it'll pay off for us moving forward and spark that energy that we had earlier in the year."
The Cubs needed a pick-me-up after being swept by the Phillies over the weekend, including Hamels' no-hitter. They overcame the Rockies' 4-0 lead with a six-run fourth inning, including an RBI single by Bryant, who now has seven RBIs in his last five games and leads the Cubs and all Major League rookies with 59 RBIs.
"That six-run inning, we definitely needed that and it made us feel a whole lot better," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
Bryant needed the home run. He was batting .177 in July coming into Monday's game. This was his first career walk-off hit, and the Cubs' first walk-off homer since Anthony Rizzo connected last Sept. 15 against the Reds.
"It's really fun," Bryant said. "It's got to be one of the best feelings in sports. I've had a couple of those in my career, but they were both in college, and one last year. To do it on this stage, in front of the fans here in Chicago, and for myself, I've been struggling a little bit, but I'm never going to give up. I know it's going to turn around and it did today."
He connected off John Axford, launching a 1-0 cutter into the bleachers in left center.
"I was trying to look for something up," Bryant said. "In that situation, I know I have some power and maybe if I get a good pitch to hit, I can do something with it, and that was the perfect pitch for me."
It was just what the Cubs needed.
"It's such a flip in the standings and where you're at and what you're thinking mentally -- it's all that stuff," Maddon said of the comeback win. "When you're losing games late, that's the most difficult to recapture or get back from that particular moment in the clubhouse. The fact we could take one back, everybody will walk in feeling a whole lot better tomorrow."