(The Sports Xchange) - Chicago Cubs’ third baseman Kris Bryant ended a pitching duel when he stroked a walk-off solo home run to right field with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the Cubs a 2-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Monday.
“I knew I was going to get an at-bat there and I made the most of it,” said Bryant, whose 20th home run of the season was also his second career walk-off blast.
“I saw it really good out of the hand (of Indians reliever Zach McAllister) and got it up in the wind.”
Cubs left-handed starter Jon Lester had been one out away from a 1-0 shutout win but gave up a run-scoring single to Indians first baseman Carlos Santana in the top of the ninth.
“You go all that way and need one more out and you give up a run, but we put ourselves in that situation,” Lester said. “But obviously K.B. picking us up there was huge.”
Indians starter Corey Kluber was nearly as effective as he threw six shutout innings before allowing a run in the seventh.
Cubs right-handed reliever Hector Rondon (5-3) worked 1/3 inning for the victory while the Indians’ McAllister (3-4) pitched 2/3 inning and took the loss.
The victory was the fifth successive win for Chicago (72-52) and moved the Cubs a season-best 21 games above .500. Cleveland (58-66) have dropped two of its last three.
Kluber won the 2014 Cy Young Award with the Indians while Lester, a 16-game winner with two teams last year, was an offseason signing by the Cubs.
“There (were not) a whole lot of well-struck baseballs,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “Both guys pitched fantastic.”
Lester allowed one run on six hits, walked one and struck out six, while Kluber, who departed with two outs in the eighth after allowing one run on four hits and striking out 11, said he had enjoyed the pitching duel.
“You want to be in that spot where you’re pitching against a guy who’s a really good pitcher and he’s throwing the ball well,” Kluber said.
“You kind of go toe-to-toe with him and both give our team chances. That’s kind of what your goal is as a starter.”
Kluber retired 16 successive batters until Cubs catcher David Ross singled with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Ross advanced to second on a fielder’s choice but got no farther.
“Boy, he was good,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
“There was exactly zero wiggle room and he just went toe-to-toe and pitched about as good as you can.”
Compiled by Greg Stutchbury