The first 1,000 fans to arrive at Principal Park on Thursday received Kris Bryant jersey replicas. But the third overall prospect in baseball gave them an arguably better gift in the 12th inning.
After Las Vegas grabbed the lead in the top of the frame, the top Cubs prospect followed a leadoff single by Logan Watkins by belting Chase Bradford's second pitch over the center-field wall to lift Triple-A Iowa to a 6-5 walk-off win.
The game had not gone well for Bryant before his extra-innings heroics, as he had gone 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Not that it had any bearing on his final plate appearance.
"I had a whole lot of confidence going up in that at-bat," he told the Des Moines Register. "I mean, it had kind of been a rough past game, and the game yesterday wasn't where I wanted it to be. But I just go up there thinking that I'm due every at-bat. That at-bat was a good one for me, and heading into tomorrow, [it's] good to get that win."
It was home run was No. 40 on the season for Bryant, who holds a two-blast cushion on Rangers prospect Joey Gallo for the Minor League lead. The 22-year-old has gone deep 18 times at Iowa after smacking 22 homers at Double-A Tennessee.
"Just trying to drive the ball for extra bases, not really trying to slap a single around," he told the Register. "I thought he was going to throw a good sinker there. He did, but he left it up a little bit and I did what I was supposed to do."
Mike Olt also left the yard for Iowa. Matt Reynolds blasted two for Las Vegas and Josh Satin and Allan Dykstra added one apiece.
Cubs reliever Marcos Mateo (2-0) gave up one run on two hits while striking out four in two innings. Bradford (3-2) had a 1-2-3 11th before Bryant's game-winning homer.
At 67-60, Iowa stands in first place in the Pacific Coast League's American Northern Division. With a 71-56 record, Las Vegas leads the Pacific Southern Division.