CHICAGO -- Rookie Kris Bryant celebrated the Fourth of July with a pair of home runs, including his second career grand slam, to back Clayton Richard's Chicago debut and power the Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the Marlins on Saturday night.
Bryant belted a two-run homer in the first and his slam in the second, then made a brief curtain call to acknowledge the 37,898 fans at Wrigley FIeld. His six RBIs raised his season total to 49, tops among all Major League rookies.
Marlins starter Jarred Cosart served up both of Bryant's homers and took the loss, giving up seven runs over 1 2/3 innings. After the loss, which snapped Miami's winning streak at four games, Cosart was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. He will be replaced on the roster by first baseman Michael Morse, who will be activated from the disabled list before Sunday's series finale.
Richard, acquired on Friday from the Pirates for cash, picked up the win in his first big league game since June 21, 2013. After the game, fans were entertained with holiday fireworks, the first at Wrigley Field in 100 years.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Kid stuff: With a runner on second and one out in the first, Bryant belted his 11th home run, launching a drive to the left-field bleachers that was projected by Statcast™ to land 423 feet from the plate. The Cubs loaded the bases in the second, and after Cosart walked Dexter Fowler to force in a run, Bryant followed with his second homer of the game. His other multihomer game came on June 22, when he hit a pair against the Dodgers. Bryant's other grand slam came on June 17 off Indians outfielder-turned-pitcher David Murphy, so this one most likely felt more legitimate.
Bryant has reached safely in 22 of his last 23 games. However, he isn't perfect. Bryant's fielding error with the bases loaded led to the Marlins' run in the third. More >
Cosart's lost command: Cosart's line mostly told the story: seven runs allowed, with six driven in on Bryant's homers, in fewer than two innings. But the story behind the struggles is Cosart's lack of command, as he walked three and just 21 of his 44 pitches were strikes. Cosart could have minimized the Cubs' damage in the second, but with two outs and the bases full, he fell behind Bryant, 3-0, then on a 3-1 fastball, Bryant connected for his grand slam. The seven earned runs matched a career high for Cosart, who previously allowed seven on April 18, 2014, in one-third of an inning at Oakland. Cosart was with the Astros at the time.
"He's a great hitter," Cosart said of Bryant. "You just can't get behind. He has a lot of home runs this year, a lot of hits this year. When he's ahead in the count, that's what good hitters do; they know that you have to come to them. He makes you pay for mistakes. If he continues to get better, he's going to be scary to watch." More >
Welcome: Richard made a good first impression. The lefty, making a comeback from July 2013 thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in his left shoulder, scattered eight hits over 6 1/3 innings. He also made a little history, becoming the 2,000th player to appear in a game for the Cubs.
"It was a lot of fun," Richard said. "I missed it. It was a great deal of fun. My family got to be here. You can't beat that." More >
Stranded opportunities: Falling behind by seven runs in the second inning is not an ideal setup for a comeback. But the Marlins still had plenty of chances, including stranding Dee Gordon on third with fewer than two outs in the first inning. Miami out-hit Chicago, 10-4, but left 12 runners on base.
"Again, 10 hits," manager Dan Jennings said. "We had two bases on balls and 10 hits. There were some chances there that we didn't capitalize on. We've got a chance tomorrow to win the series. We've got to let this one go quickly, come back tomorrow and get back to who we are -- pitching and defense -- and capitalize on our opportunities."
"The most impressive thing about that whole moment -- first of all, that ball was really scalded and hit him square in the elbow. He fell down on his stomach, and his toothpick never left his mouth. If you're looking for the incredibly professional moment, it's the fact that the toothpick never moved." -- Maddon, on third-base coach Gary Jones, who was struck by an Addison Russell foul ball in the seventh inning but stayed in the game
"He's probably trying a little too hard, wanting to regain who he was last year. He couldn't command. He couldn't get his breaking ball over, and he didn't throw his fastball the way he needs to. You make those mistakes up here, and they're going to make you pay. They made him pay." -- Jennings, on getting Cosart back on track
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Bryant is the first Cubs rookie to hit two grand slams in a season since Hall of Famer Billy Williams did so in 1961. The only other Cubs rookie to hit two slams in one year was Howard Earl in 1890. Bryant also became the first Cubs player to hit a grand slam on the Fourth of July since Frank "Wildfire" Schulte did so in 1911.
Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch in the fifth by the Marlins' David Phelps. It's the 17th time this season Rizzo has been plunked, tying the Cubs' modern-day single-season record, set in 2010 by Marlon Byrd.
It didn't take long for the Marlins to issue their first challenge. Just two batters into the first inning, Miami asked for a review on an out call by second-base umpire Sam Holbrook against Gordon. Gordon was caught off first by Clayton Richard, who threw to first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Gordon sprinted to second and slid in as shortstop Starlin Castro was applying the tag. The initial call was out, but after a review of 1 minute, 45 seconds, the call was overturned and Gordon was credited with his 29th stolen base.
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins: Closing out the three-game series at 2:20 p.m. ET on Sunday will be Mat Latos (3-5, 5.27 ERA). The right-hander went 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in four June starts. He's also been tough on the Cubs at Wrigley Field, where he is 4-0 with a 2.73 ERA in his career.
Cubs: Kyle Hendricks will be making his seventh start of the season at Wrigley Field, and he's still looking for his first win. The right-hander threw six scoreless innings in his last outing, against the Mets in New York. He faced the Marlins on June 2 and took the loss. The Cubs are expected to activate outfielder Jorge Soler from the DL before the game.