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Bryant homers in first at-bat at Fenway; Schwarber gets nod at DH

Kris Bryant rounds the bases after his first-inning homer.

BOSTON — For a guy who was raised in Las Vegas, third baseman Kris Bryant has some deep connections with Boston.

Maybe not quite as deep as the home run he hit over the famed Green Monster in left in his first career at-bat at Fenway Park.

But his dad, Mike, grew up about 45 minutes north of the ballpark, and his mom is from the area, too.

“He proposed to my mom behind the Green Monster,” said Bryant, whose first-inning home run not only cleared the Monster but also Lansdowne Street, landing on the roof of a parking garage.

He pointed at his parents celebrating in the crowd as he crossed the plate after the homer.

“It’s probably the only time I’ve ever actually seen my family in the stands,” Bryant said. “It was one of my favorite home runs I’ve hit. It felt really good.”

Mike Bryant was drafted by the Red Sox in 1980, and in his two years in their system, he was coached by Ted Williams. What Bryant learned stuck with him, and he in turn taught those lessons to his sons.

Kris Bryant never played at Fenway before Friday, but he took batting practice there once while playing in the Cape Cod League.

“I don’t really remember too much about it, though,” he said. “I didn’t hit one home run that batting practice. I remember that.”

Schwarber at DH

Manager Joe Maddon didn’t think too long about who his designated hitter would be in the Cubs’ first interleague road series.

Kyle Schwarber, a left fielder not known for his defensive prowess, got the nod.

It gave Schwarber’s surgically repaired knee a break and allowed Maddon to start Ben Zobrist in left. Zobrist has experience playing in left at Fenway.

And this: Including last year’s World Series, Schwarber is 16-for-46 (.348) when he’s the DH.

He was 1-for-5 on Friday. After striking out in his first two at-bats Friday, he poked an opposite-field single against the shift.

This and that

Bryant’s home run extended his hitting streak to nine games.

— Ex-Red Sox players John Lackey, Jon Lester and Koji Uehara — all teammates on the 2013 World Series-winning team — were welcomed back on the Fenway video board between innings and received loud ovations.

— Before Friday, the last time the Cubs and Red Sox played a game at Fenway Park when both teams had winning records, Babe Ruth played two games in left field. It was Sept. 11, 1918, in Game 6

of the World Series.

Jake Arrieta allowed five runs, including a homer, in the first inning. In his last two games, he has given up nine runs and three homers in the first inning. In his previous 57 starts combined: seven first-inning runs, one homer.

Follow me on Twitter @GDubCub.

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com

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