Cubs’ Kris Bryant sizzles in 11-8 win over Reds

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Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs hits a home run to center field against the Cincinnati Reds in the third inning of the game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. AFP PHOTO

Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs hits a home run to center field against the Cincinnati Reds in the third inning of the game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. AFP PHOTO

CINCINNATI: Kris Bryant made Jake Arrieta’s struggles seem minor on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).

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Bryant created his own history by slugging three home runs and hitting two doubles to take the scrutiny off Arrieta as the Cubs pounded their way to an 11-8 victory over the Reds at Great American Ballpark.

Bryant, who entered the game in a 3-for-20 rut, became the first player in major league history to hit three home runs and two doubles in a game.

Bryant, 24, set a franchise record with 16 total bases. He also became the first Cub with five extra base hits in a game since George Gore against Providence in 1885.

The Cubs needed Bryant’s production on a night when Arrieta (12-2) walked a season-high five and lasted only five innings for the fourth time in his past seven starts. Arrieta helped his cause by hitting a solo home run to right field in the fifth.

Anthony Rizzo followed Bryant’s third homer with one of his own, his 18th, in the eighth. Bryant’s six RBIs moved him ahead of Rizzo for the team RBI lead, 57-55, while Bryant increased his team-leading home run total to 21.

Bryant’s three-run home run in the fourth capped a four-run rally and landed in the upper deck in left field after traveling an estimated 444 feet.

But Bryant’s solo shot in the eighth landed in the upper deck in left center.

Bryant set the tone in the first by hitting a double down the left-field line to score Jason Heyward. Bryant led off the sixth with a double but was left stranded.

The last player with 16 or more total bases in a game was Josh Hamilton of the Rangers, who had 18 total bases (four home runs and a double) against the Orioles on May 8, 2012. Arrieta was the Orioles’ starting pitcher in that game, allowing two of Hamilton’s homers and the double.

Bryant is the third player in modern history with an extra-base hit in each at-bat in a game after Hamilton and Joe Adcock, who was 5-for-5 with four home runs and a double on July 31, 1954.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Bryant became the youngest Cubs player to hit three home runs in a game, edging Ernie Banks by 10 days.

Bryant’s six RBIs tied a career high set twice — including April 21 against the Reds in a game more noted for Arrieta’s no-hitter.

As for Arrieta, the Cubs’ ace issued two walks in the first and lost his no-hit bid when Adam Duvall hit a two-run double over the head of Willson Contreras in left field.

The first three batters Arrieta walked scored.

Arrieta’s struggles continued even after he was staked to a 7-3 lead after 3 ½ innings. A leadoff walk to Billy Hamilton in the fifth set up a two-run home run by Joey Votto.

Before Bryant and Rizzo hit consecutive home runs in the eighth, the Cubs’ bullpen experienced some harrowing moments.

Tucker Barnhart hit an RBI double off Trevor Cahill in the sixth, and Duvall hit a double off Travis Wood in the seventh and scored on a wild pitch by Pedro Strop to cut the Cubs’ lead to 8-7.

Joel Peralta, promoted from Triple-A Iowa due largely to limiting left-handed hitters to a .225 batting average in his career, allowed a homer to Votto in the ninth.

TNS

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