Cubs Recap: Kris Bryant homers twice to lead Chicago to sweep
By Jake Misener
Jason Hammel pitched into the seventh and Kris Bryant homered twice, as the Chicago Cubs completed a four-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves.
For the first time in more than 50 years, Chicago completed four four-game sweeps in the same season with the win at Wrigley Sunday, moving to a season-high 20 games over .500.
The club has launched 28 long-balls in their last 11 games, including five on Sunday and four Saturday. In the finale, Bryant hit two, while Kyle Schwarber, Dexter Fowler and Miguel Montero each added a homer apiece to pace a red-hot offense.
Fowler got things started early, taking the second pitch of the game from Atlanta rookie Matt Wisler, depositing it into the left-field seats to make it 1-0 Cubs. Later in the inning, Bryant hit his 18th of the season, a two-run shot, staking the Chicago starter Hammel to an early cushion.
Hammel (7-5) did more than enough to earn the win, tossing 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball, striking out eight and walking just one, turning in one of his best starts of the second-half.
With Chicago (71-51) leading 3-0, Schwarber connected on a line-drive homer, his 11th on the season, to make it 4-0 in the second. Montero, who also homered in Saturday’s comeback win, added on in the third with a three-run shot, blowing things wide open.
After Jason Hammel helped his own cause with an RBI single in the fourth, Atlanta pulled a little closer after backup catcher Ryan Lavarnway homered and Nick Swisher played a run with a single – one of his two RBI base hits on the afternoon – but Bryant soon did what he does best yet again.
The Cubs’ third baseman connected against veteran southpaw David Aardsma for a solo shot that landed in the basket in center field, his second of the day and 19th on the season, making it 9-2.
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He ended the afternoon with four runs, three hits and the aforementioned pair of long-balls.
What Stood Out:
After losing three-straight heading into the weekend series with Atlanta, the Cubs’ offense has rebounded, as has the pitching for the most part, helping secure the sweep and push playoff odds even higher.
Chicago drew five walks and struck out just seven times, continuing a trend of patient hitting by the young lineup. This will be paramount to the team’s success down the stretch, especially in their upcoming road trip.
Chicago will meet up with Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians for a make-up game on Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Left-hander Jon Lester will take the ball for the Cubs in a battle of aces, with first pitch slated for 1:00 p.m.