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Bryant's homers spark Chicago Cubs to holiday win over Miami Marlins

By
Jack McCarthy, The Sports Xchange

CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant provided all the holiday fireworks the Cubs needed on Saturday.

Bryant clubbed two home runs -- including his first Wrigley Field grand slam -- and collected six RBIs over two innings to lead Chicago to a 7-2 victory over the Miami Marlins.

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It was a good thing Bryant had the bat because his two hits were half of what the entire team produced.

"It was him, that was our offense tonight," said Cubs manager Joe Maddon. "Without that this game's entire different, so it was nice to get him going."

The rookie third baseman had outsized influence as Chicago (43-36) scored all its runs in the first two innings and chased Miami starter Jarred Cosart after just 1 2/3 innings.

Cubs left-handed starter Clayton Richard, acquired late Friday in a cash deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowed two earned runs on eight hits in his Chicago debut.

"Clayton was outstanding, really put the ball on the ground (and) had a really good sinker working tonight," Maddon said. "He threw strikes and was unflappable, had a really good way about him."

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Richard, making his first big league appearance since June 21, 2013, while recovering from a pair of surgeries, also struck out four and walked just one.

"It was a lot of fun, I missed it," Richard said. "It's always where I want to be, and I've always felt that if I'm able to do what I can do I'll get there."

The victory evened the three-game weekend series at one game apiece entering Sunday's finale.

The Marlins (35-47) scored once in the third and added another in the seventh when shortstop Andy Hechavarria doubled home second baseman Dee Gordon.

Richard departed after that, but received a rousing ovation for his for his 6 1/3 inning debut effort.

In the Cubs seventh, second baseman Addison Russell lined a foul down the third-base line, which knocked down third base coach Gary Jones, who remained face down on the grass for a couple of minutes.

A replay showed Jones tried to get out of the way. He remained in the game and was reported fine after the game.

Bryant's two-run home run in the first was his 11th of the season and reached the back row of the expanded left-field bleachers at Wrigley.

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The blast also drove in leadoff better Dexter Fowler, who doubled and reached third on a fielder's choice.

Cosart struggled in the second when he walked Fowler with bases loaded with one out to bring home left fielder Chris Coghlan for a 3-0 Cubs' lead.

First baseman Anthony Rizzo struck out looking, setting the stage for Bryant's second shot to left and his second career grand slam.

Bryant lined a 3-and-1 pitch into the bleachers for his 12th home run of the season and brought home right fielder Chris Denorfia, Russell and Fowler.

Trailing 7-0, Cosart departed after pitching only 1 2/3 innings. He allowed four hits, seven earned runs while walking four and striking out two.

"The command was not there tonight," said Marlins manager Dan Jennings. "The cut on his fastball -- probably trying to throw it a little too hard and he threw it right through the break. He left some balls center cut to a pretty good hitter in Bryant and he made (Cosart) pay."

Richard was called up for Saturday's game and inserted as starter. He is the 2,000th player all-time to appear in a Cubs uniform.

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Cosart made his first start and second appearance since returning from the 15-day disabled list due to vertigo. After the game he learned he'd was headed back to Triple-A New Orleans.

"I guess this was my chance and obviously I didn't pitch well," he said. "I'll go down there and work on it and figure things out."

NOTES: Miami's trips to Fenway Park and Wrigley Field make the Marlins the first team with back-to-back stops at baseball's oldest parks since the Brewers in 2011. ... Marlins RHP A.J. Ramos has converted 13-of-14 save opportunities since moving into a closer role on May 13. He posted the save in Friday's 2-1 win over the Cubs. ... Miami sends RHP Mat Latos (3-5, 5.27 ERA) against Chicago RHP Kyle Hendricks in Sunday's series finale. ... The Cubs announced a series of roster moves starting with the Friday acquisition of LHP Clayton Richard from Pittsburgh for cash, then activated him and gave him Saturday's start. He was 4-2 with a 2.09 ERA in nine starts for Triple-A Indianapolis. ... LHP Donn Roach, Saturday's originally scheduled starter, was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. To make room on the 40-man roster, INF Tommy La Stella was transferred to the 60-day disabled list (right rib cage inflammation) and RHP Gonzalez Germen was designated for assignment. ... Chicago also activated C Taylor Teagarden from Triple-A Iowa and placed C David Ross on the seven-day concussion disabled list retroactive to July 2.

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