Bryant's tear continues with HR in 1st off Matz

Bryant's tear continues with HR in 1st off Matz

NEW YORK -- Kris Bryant didn't waste any time on Thursday getting the Cubs on the board against the Mets in their first meeting since the National League Championship Series. Bryant belted his team-leading 22nd home run of the season on the sixth pitch of the game from the Mets' Steven Matz, driving in Ben Zobrist to take a 2-0 lead in the first, though the Mets would rally for a 4-3 win.

Bryant, who belted three home runs and two doubles on Monday in Cincinnati, began the day tied for second in the NL in home runs with the Rockies' Nolan Arenado. With his blast, Bryant is tied with the Reds' Adam Duvall.

"He punished that ball," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Bryant. "He looks really good."

But it wasn't enough.

The top vote-getter among NL third baseman in the latest All-Star balloting, Bryant saw his lead shrinking in the penultimate voting update as Thursday's deadline approached.

Bryant now has nine home runs, 20 RBIs and 22 runs scored in his last 22 games. He also moved ahead of Anthony Rizzo for the team lead, with 60 RBIs.

Bryant and Rizzo (19 homers) are the first set of Cubs teammates to hit at least 18 homers prior to the All-Star break since 2005, when Derrek Lee hit 27 and Aramis Ramirez had 20.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.