Bryant homers as Cubs beat Mets 8-3

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Kris Bryant's fourth-inning, three-run home run.

Bryant snapped out of a slump with a three-run homer and four RBIs, and Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ added solo shots to power the Cubs past the New York Mets 8-3 on Tuesday night.

The Mets have actually played the Cubs well since the teams met in the 2015 NLCS with the Mets winning 11 of the past 14 games between the teams. "We're going to start hitting again". Then they allowed the game's first run in the top of the fourth. The Milwaukee Brewers, who also won, are 2 1/2 games back. The Sept. 22 game has been shifted from 7:10 p.m.to 6:35 p.m.

During that span, the Cubs' offense was sputtering. Eight pitches and a trot around the diamond later, by the time he was getting fake interviewed by his teammates, they were nearly assured to win the game, at a win probability of 84.7%.

"I think we did a lot right today", Bryant said. Nobody is talking about it here. In a season in which the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cleveland Indians have taken turns looking unbeatable, the Cubs, with a current record of 78-66, have looked just good enough to repeat as division winners, but nothing more.

"We're in first place", Rizzo said. "This win was really important for us".

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The 24-year-old threw out the first pitch at Tuesday evening's Cubs-Mets game at Wrigley Field ahead of this week's BMW Championship, and he did pretty well. The Mets missed a chance to complete a four-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds with a 10-5 loss. Wildness elevated the right-hander's pitch count to 93.

"Now we've got to figure out how to do it", the eternal optimist Maddon said. Asdrubal Cabrera touched Quintana up for three hits. Travis Taijeron, Travis d'Arnaud and Nori Aoki each had an RBI. But the deluge began with a perfectly-executed safety squeeze bunt from pitcher Jose Quintana. Mike Montgomery will once again fill Jake Arrieta's spot in the series finale Thursday as Arrieta is still recovering from a Grade 1 right hamstring strain he sustained against the Pirates on Labor Day.

One out later, Bryant belted a Gsellman pitch for a high drive to right-center, capping the rally. Aoki drove in the final run with groundout in the ninth. Harvey is 1-0 with a 2.95 ERA and 20 strikeouts in his career against the Cubs. Manager Joe Maddon wants to ease Contreras back into action this week and pulled him after seven innings.

Contreras had been out since August 10 due to a right hamstring strain. Opponents include Tampa Bay, the Phillies and Washington Nationals.

Again, the expectations of the Cubs repeating what they accomplished previous year is a ship that has long since left the shore and struck an iceberg.

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