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Kris Bryant sets rookie franchise HR mark

Kris Bryant hit his 26th home run of the year -- furthering his strong case to win the National League rookie of the year award. Jon Durr/Getty Images

CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs star rookie Kris Bryant joked with pitcher Jake Arrieta after the Cubs 4-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday. Bryant set a rookie franchise record with his 26th home run of the season but it’ll get overshadowed by the Cubs Cy Young award candidate’s 20th victory of the season.

“I told him he always has to outdo me,” Bryant recalled smiling.

That might be true on Tuesday but come award season Bryant is a sure-thing to take home some hardware in the form of the Rookie of the Year award. He’ll get some MVP votes as well. His home run surpassed the great Billy Williams for the most as a rookie Cub and it brought the crowd to its feet asking for a curtain call. Bryant obliged.

“They’re all excited,” he said. “We’re excited. That was a special moment for me.”

Bryant’s had many special moments in his short career as a big leaguer. He’ll reach another one when he drives in two more runs to reach 100 RBI. He might even do it before good friend and MVP candidate Anthony Rizzo; he has 95 driven in.

“He’ll joke he’s tired and I’ll say ‘you can’t take a day off you have to play every game, you have to get there,’” Bryant said. “A hundred RBIs is definitely something I can be proud of if I can get there.”

As for passing Williams, Bryant said it’s been fun to get to know the Hall of Famer outfielder as he’s often hanging around the team. He was in attendance on Tuesday as Bryant broke his record which stood since 1961.

“Theo [Esptein] said he was with him when I hit it,” Bryant said. “He was really happy for me.”