LOS ANGELES — Kris Bryant heard the “MVP” chants from the contingent of Chicago fans at Dodger Stadium. Inside the clubhouse, his teammates showered him with more of the same.
Bryant hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 10th inning to go with an earlier solo shot, lifting the Cubs over the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 on Friday night in the series opener between NL division leaders.
“It’s humbling and just keeps me going and keeps me determined to do all I can,” Bryant said. “It’s pretty cool to hear.”
Bryant’s NL-leading 35th homer capped a comeback from an earlier two-run deficit and extended the Cubs’ winning streak to four games. Bryant heard the crowd’s chants as he scored behind Dexter Fowler, who singled leading off.
Bryant went 2 for 4 and scored three runs to increase his major league-leading total to 107.
“His swing has gotten shorter,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s more contact oriented, he is not chasing as much. He is able to put the ball in play with two strikes. That for me is the biggest difference over last year.”
Chicago improved to 19-4 in August while earning its major league-leading 82nd victory.
“We never give up,” Bryant said. “We always believe we can win in the final innings.”
Travis Wood (4-0) got the victory with one inning of relief. Aroldis Chapman tossed a scoreless 10th with two strikeouts for his 10th save in 12 chances since being acquired on July 25 from the Yankees.
Adam Liberatore (2-1) took the loss, allowing two runs and four hits in one inning. The Dodgers had their NL West lead cut to one game after San Francisco won.
Bryant’s first homer leading off the eighth pulled the Cubs to 4-3.
Chicago tied the game 4-all in the ninth on a wild pitch by closer Kenley Jansen that allowed Jayson Heyward, who led off with a double, to score from third.
“A misfire with the cutter,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Kenley is tough for anyone to catch. His ball does a lot of different things.”
The Dodgers took a 4-2 lead on Adrian Gonzalez’s homer leading off the seventh.
New Dodgers catcher Carlos Ruiz went 1 for 3 with a walk and was hit by a pitch in his first at-bat after being acquired Thursday from the Phillies for catcher A.J. Ellis, a popular and well-regarded player in the clubhouse. Ruiz failed to catch Jansen’s wild pitch that led to the tying run.
“His ball was moving real good and it surprised me,” Ruiz said. “I have no excuse.”
The Dodgers led 3-1 in the fourth when a run scored when Howie Kendrick grounded into a double play. They got runs in the third on Justin Turner’s RBI groundout and another by Chase Utley in the second.
The Cubs closed to 3-2 in the fifth on Anthony Rizzo’s RBI single with two outs.
Utley made a diving stop on Ben Zobrist in the fifth, when he threw on his back to Gonzalez for an inning-ending out that stranded two runners.
Dodgers starter Bud Norris allowed two runs and three hits in five innings, struck out six and walked four.
Cubs starter Mike Montgomery gave up three runs and six hits in five innings, struck out five and walked four.
JANSEN MOVES UP
Despite blowing his sixth save of the season, Jansen struck out two to surpass Jim Brewer for most strikeouts by a reliever in Dodgers franchise history with 606.
The Dodgers recalled pitcher Brock Stewart from Triple-A Oklahoma City to start Sunday’s series finale. The 24-year-old right-hander has appeared in three games (two starts) with the team this season, going 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA. He is a combined 9-3 with a 1.68 ERA in 20 minor league starts with three different teams, including Oklahoma City. To make room on the roster, the Dodgers optioned C Shawn Zarraga to OKC and RHP Kenta Maeda to the Rookie-level Arizona League Dodgers, whose season ends Sunday.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw threw a 60-pitch bullpen session Friday. He’s been on the DL for nearly two months with a herniated disk in his back. Next he will face hitters. … LHP Brett Anderson, on the DL with a finger blister, threw a bullpen session and expects to face hitters next week.
Cubs: RHP Jason Hammel (13-6, 3.07 ERA) starts the middle game of the series. He is winless in eight games (five starts) at Dodger Stadium. In his last outing, he allowed a season-high-tying 10 runs (six earned) in 3 1/3 innings of an 11-4 loss at Colorado.
Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias (4-2, 3.95) has won his last three decisions.