Kris Bryant’s 12th-inning, walk-off two-run home run, gave the Iowa Cubs (67-60) a stunning 6-5 victory over the Las Vegas 51s (71-56) on Thursday night at Principal Park. The win combined with the Salt Lake Bee’s come-from-behind victory over the Omaha Storm Chasers, gives Iowa a one game lead over Omaha in the PCL American North division.
After Matt Reynolds’ fifth home run of the season (second on the night) gave Las Vegas a 5-4 lead in the top on the 12th, Logan Watkins led off the bottom of the inning with an infield single off 51s reliever Chase Bradford (3-2). Bryant followed Watkins and launched a 1-0 pitch from Bradford deep over the center field wall to give Iowa the thrilling victory, sending the crowd of 6,927 home happy.
Bryant continues to pad an already impressive resume in his first full-season. Bryant is batting .336 (148-for-440) with 40 home runs and 103 RBI in 122 games. Bryant leads all of minor league baseball in home runs and trails only former Cubs’ farmhand Marquez Smith in RBI. Smith has 118 RBI, primarily playing for the single-A Bakersfield Blaze.
Iowa jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third. Watkins RBI single scoring Matt Szczur gave Iowa its’ first run of the game. Three batters later, Mike Olt continued to swing a hot bat, belting his seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot, to give the Cubs a three-run lead. All seven of Olt’s home runs have come in the last 14 games. In 23 games with Iowa, Olt is batting .333 with seven home runs and 23 RBI.
Las Vegas quickly cut the lead to 3-2 in the fourth on Allan Dykstra’s 16th home run of the season, coming off Iowa starter Dallas Beeler. Beeler received a no-decision but picked up another quality start, tossing six innings, allowing three runs on six hits and one walk while striking out five.
Las Vegas tied the game at three in the sixth inning on Josh Satin’s ninth home run of the season.
In the bottom of the sixth, Elliot Soto’s sacrifice fly scored Olt to push the Cubs back out in front 4-3.
Reynolds pushed the game to extra innings, hitting his fourth home run of the season to lead off the eighth for Las Vegas.
Szczur and Watkins each had three hits and two stolen bases for Iowa. Szczur is tied for second in the PCL in steals with 30, while Watkins and Arismendy Alcantara, now with Chicago, are just outside the top ten with 22 and 21 respectively. As a team, Iowa trails only Omaha in stolen bases in the PCL. Olt and Manny Ramirez each had two hits for the Cubs.
Marcos Mateo (2-0) picked up the victory for Iowa, pitching two innings, allowing one run on two hits with four strikeouts.
The final game of the four-game series is Friday night at Principal Park.