Braun tests positive for PEDs

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Braun tests positive for PEDs

The path to the NL Central title for the Cubs may have just gotten a little easier.

YokalSports.com first reported on their Twitter account that reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Braun faces a possible 50-game suspension, but he will dispute the positive test through arbitration.

After news of the positive test broke on Saturday, a spokesman for Braun issued this statement:

"There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan's complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program."

The spokesman went on to praise Braun's character and try to push any doubt aside that Braun is indeed innocent.

"While Ryan has impeccable character and no previous history, unfortunately, because of the process we have to maintain confidentiality and are not able to discuss it any further, but we are confident he will ultimately be exonerated."

According to Tyler Barnes, a spokesman for the Brewers, the commissioners office had yet to contact the team and Milwaukee didn't know anything about the positive test. ESPN's Fainaru-Wada and T.J. Quinn claim Braun told people close to him that he had no knowledge of taking PED's and the arbitration will prove he's innocent.

After signing a five-year contract extension for 105 million, Braun had the best season of his career. He hit .332 with 33 home runs, 111 RBI and recorded 33 stolen bases and led the Brewers to their first division title since 1982. Milwaukee was within two games of the NL Pennant when they were eliminated in the NLCS, 4-2 by the World Series Champion, St. Louis Cardinals.

Preview: Cubs try for two in a row at Reds tonight on CSN

Preview: Cubs try for two in a row at Reds tonight on CSN

The Cubs take on the Reds on Tuesday night, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins at 6 p.m.

Catch first pitch with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.

Tonight's starting pitching matchup: Jon Lester (9-3, 2.10 ERA) vs. John Lamb (1-4, 4.78)

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Some of the craziest facts from Kris Bryant's monster night in Cincy

Some of the craziest facts from Kris Bryant's monster night in Cincy

What a night for Kris Bryant.

The Cubs' second-year third baseman had one of the biggest offensive nights in club history Monday, going 5-for-5 with a trio of home runs, a pair of doubles, six RBIs and four runs scored. That's a whopping 16 total bases.

Some of the crazier facts from CSN stats guru Chris Kamka.

The Cubs had a fun fact of their own (with visual aide):

And this one from the Reds might be the most impressive of all:

We said it before, but it's worth repeating: What a night for Kris Bryant.

Kris Bryant's three-homer, two-double night powers Cubs' win over Reds

Kris Bryant's three-homer, two-double night powers Cubs' win over Reds

CINCINNATI — When Kris Bryant reached the dugout after his record-setting third homer, thousands of Cubs fans in the stands cheered for a curtain call. A few teammates wanted him to take a bow, too.

Nope. That was the only thing Bryant wouldn't do on his historic night.

Bryant became the first major leaguer to hit three homers and two doubles in a game, and Jake Arrieta added a solo shot in the ballpark where he threw a no-hitter in April, setting up an 11-8 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night.

The Cubs pulled out of their 1-6 slide behind a tandem that's had some huge moments in Cincinnati.

"The last couple of weeks haven't been what I've wanted, so I figured I'm due," said Bryant, who hit three homers one time during a college game with San Diego.

Arrieta (12-2) threw his second career no-hitter on April 21 during a 16-0 win over the Reds. Bryant led the way with a pair of homers in that game, including a grand slam that gave him a career-high six RBIs.

Arrieta struggled in his return to Cincinnati, giving up a season-high five runs in five innings, but Bryant drove in six runs again to help the right-hander pull through. Bryant's 16 total bases were a Cubs record, and his five hits marked a career high.

"That keeps you back from those 0-for-20 stretches when you have a game like this," Bryant said.

Bryant doubled home a run in the first, hit a solo homer in the third and added a three-run shot deep into the upper deck in left field in the fourth off Dan Straily (4-5). His solo shot in the eighth came off Ross Ohlendorf, who also gave up a homer to Anthony Rizzo.

Most of the 31,762 fans wore Cubs blue and demanded a curtain call after the third homer. Bryant wouldn't oblige, considering it inappropriate on the road.

"He enjoys the moment, but he doesn't go over the top with it," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He's very old school. He doesn't spike the ball in the end zone. He just lays it down or hands it to the official."

Arrieta hit an opposite-field drive — his fourth career home run — in the fifth inning off Michael Lorenzen for an 8-3 lead.

The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner became the league's first 12-game winner despite his worst pitching performance of the season. Arrieta walked a season-high five batters in five innings, and four of them scored. The five runs allowed were his most since he gave up six during a 7-2 loss at Great American Ball Park on Aug. 28, 2014.

"I was my own worst enemy tonight," Arrieta said. "I'm not happy about it."

Adam Duvall had a two-run double in the first inning, Jay Bruce singled home a run and Joey Votto hit a two-run homer off Arrieta, who threw 93 pitches in five innings.

"He still had his stuff," Bruce said. "He just wasn't locating it very well. We had some walks and put some hits together. That's baseball."

The Cubs have the best record in the majors at 49-26 despite their slump last week, characterized by a lack of clutch hitting and poor relief pitching. The bullpen gave up three runs and four hits Monday, including Votto's second homer in the ninth inning.

The Cubs improved to 7-1 against the Reds this season and have won 10 of their last 11 vs. their NL Central rivals.