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By MATT CARLSON
CHICAGO (AP) — Kris Bryant drew a pair of stand- ing ovations in his return to Wrigley Field, then Evan Longoria and Brandon Belt homered in the seventh inning to send the San Francisco Giants over the Chicago Cubs 6-1 Friday for their fifth straight win.
The Giants, who entered 2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, improved to a major league-best 91-50.
It was 1-all when Longoria hit a two-run homer that put San Francisco ahead. Belt connected for a two- run drive later in the inning.
While all eyes were on Bryant in this one, Belt has been fueling the Giants dur- ing their most recent surge.
The 33-year-old first baseman added a double and two walks, giving him eight hits in 17 at-bats his last four games.
Rookie Frank Schwindel hit a solo drive for the Cubs, giving him 12 homers and seven in the last 11 games. Chicago lost for just the second time in 10 games.
Bryant was traded to the Giants for two prospects at the July 30 deadline as the rebuilding Cubs unloaded marquee stars who were set to become free agents after this season. The 29-year – old got a standing ovation from the crowd of 29,439 during a pregame video tribute and again before his first inning at-bat.
The slugger was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2015, then the NL MVP in 2016 when the Cubs won the World Series to end a 108- year championship drought. In this one, Bryant went 0 for 3 with a walk, run and struck out swinging twice.
“There was a lot going on in terms of emotions,” Bryant said. “It was pretty hard to contain it all.”
“It kind of got the best of me and it was kind of hard to play baseball after that,” he said.
LOVE FOR KB
After watching the video tribute while standing in front of the Giants dugout, Bryant strolled to home plate for handshakes and hugs with Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and other team officials.
The Cubs presented Bryant with a 2016 World Series championship pen- nant and a replica No. 17 panel – his uniform number in Chicago — from Wrigley Field’s vintage center-field scoreboard.
The crowd cheered again when he struck out to end the inning first inning.
Bryant told reporters he got a voicemail message from Ricketts when he was traded, but he said things were so hectic — the Cubs were in Washington — that he never returned the call.
CHAT ‘EM UP
With Longoria back in the lineup at third, the versatile Bryant played left field — where he hoped to resume friendly banter with fans in the bleachers.