Bryant's 2-run HR in 9th lifts Cubs to 9-8 win over Rockies
CHICAGO (AP) After coming close to hitting a home run the previous few games, Kris Bryant believed he was due to get one to go out.
He got one in a big situation.
Bryant's two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Chicago Cubs to a 9-8 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.
Colorado had taken an 8-7 lead in the ninth inning on a two-run homer by Carlos Gonzalez - his second of the game. However, Bryant hit the second pitch he saw from John Axford (3-4) over the wall in left-center to give Chicago a dramatic victory and snap a three-game skid.
''The last three or four games I think I've hit five or six out to the warning track. That's obviously frustrating but I believe in baseball gods and I believe they pay you back and I guess I got one today,'' Bryant said. ''It worked out for us. It was a really good win, that's for sure.''
While the Cubs were celebrating a walk-off hit by their newest franchise cornerstone, the Rockies were dealing with the loss of theirs.
Troy Tulowitzki was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jose Reyes and three pitching prospects in a stunning swap of star shortstops, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity early Tuesday because the deal had not yet been announced.
In addition to Tulowitzki, the Rockies sent 42-year-old reliever LaTroy Hawkins to the Blue Jays.
Along with Reyes, the Rockies picked up rookie reliever Miguel Castro and two minor league pitchers in a blockbuster transaction ahead of Friday's trade deadline.
Tulowitzki was replaced on defense in the bottom of the ninth. After the game, the five-time All-Star spent at least 30 minutes in manager Walt Weiss' office at Wrigley Field, but was unavailable to reporters.
The 30-year-old Tulowitzki is hitting .300 with 12 home runs and 53 RBIs this season. The face of the franchise, he has spent his entire career with the Rockies (42-55) but has been the subject of trade speculation for some time.
Prior to the game Monday, Weiss was asked if he had talked to Tulowitzki about handling distractions in the days leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline.
''I've talked to these guys as a group about all the distractions that come with the trade deadline,'' Weiss said. ''Basically, I told them to control what they can control. There are always distractions at this level during this time period.''
The Cubs, meanwhile, were basking in one of their most thrilling victories.
Trailing 7-4, the Rockies scored four times in the ninth to move ahead. Jason Motte started the inning by allowing a pinch-hit homer to Daniel Descalso, a single to Charlie Blackmon and a double to DJ LeMahieu.
Rafael Soriano (1-0), added to the roster July 20, then came on and gave up Tulowitzki's run-scoring grounder before Gonzalez, who had four hits, roped a two-run homer to right that put Colorado in front.
Gonzalez continued his torrid stretch after hitting five home runs and batting .476 last week. He hit his 19th homer of the season in the third off Kyle Hendricks to give Colorado a 2-0 lead.
LeMahieu's two-run single in the fourth doubled the cushion.
Two days after the Cubs were held hitless by Philadelphia's Cole Hamels, Bryant and Jorge Soler had RBI singles and Chris Denorfia added a run-scoring grounder to pull Chicago to 4-3 as part of a six-run fourth. Starlin Castro, hitless in his previous three games, singled to drive in two and put the Cubs in front.
Addison Russell's double drove in Castro, capping the inning and ending the night for Jorge De La Rosa.
Looking for his third victory of the month, De La Rosa gave up six runs and five hits in 3 2-3 innings.
''That six-run fourth inning, we definitely needed that,'' Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
Chicago added a run in the sixth on Nolan Arenado's throwing error on Castro's grounder, bringing Denorfia in all the way from first and giving the Cubs seven or more runs for the first time since July 7 against St. Louis.
Hendricks pitched five-plus innings and allowed four runs and seven hits.
Chicago was coming off a three-game sweep by lowly Philadelphia to slip 2 1/2 games behind San Francisco for the second National League wild-card spot.
LOOKING TO DEAL?
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said he'd like to make a deal and outlined the team's plans for the upcoming trade deadline. ''I do think if we do something on the bigger end it'll involve players that will help us beyond this year,'' Epstein said. ''If we do something on the smaller side, it'll probably be more for a rental player. And if we do nothing it will be because we couldn't find anything rational that we could actually do. I don't know which of those three directions it will go yet.''
Rockies: C Michael McKenry (sore right knee) was back in the lineup after not being available behind the plate for a few days.
Cubs: INF Tommy La Stella (right rib cage) could start a rehab assignment later this week.
Rockies: LHP Yohan Flande (0-1, 4.24 ERA) gets a spot start in the second game of the series.
Cubs: RHP Dallas Beeler (0-0, 6.43 ERA) will start for Chicago.