NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Sean Halton went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Taylor Green and Irving Falu each homered to lead the Nashville Sounds to their sixth straight win, a 5-1 victory over the Iowa Cubs on Sunday afternoon at Greer Stadium.
The first-place Sounds (18-12) have won nine of their last 10 games and improved to 10-4 in home contests this season with the triumph.
Ariel Pena (1-2) picked up his first Triple-A victory with his first quality start of the year. The Nashville right-hander held the I-Cubs to one run on four hits in his season-high six innings of work, striking out six batters with no walks during his 98-pitch effort.
Pena's outing continued the recent string of outstanding efforts by Nashville starting pitchers. In the past six games, Sounds starters have allowed only three earned runs in 34 innings, a 0.79 ERA.
The Sounds got out to an early 1-0 with a first-inning score against Iowa starter Eric Jokisch. Pete Orr led off the frame with a single to left, stole second, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on Sean Halton's two-out RBI knock to center.
Pena opened the game with four innings of scoreless, one-hit ball before Josh Vitters knotted the contest at 1-1 with a leadoff solo homer in the fifth, the outfielder's third big fly of the year.
Green quickly propelled the Sounds back in front, belting an opposite-field solo homer to left off Jokisch to lead off the home half of the fifth. The longball, his third of the year, spotted Nashville a 2-1 advantage and ended a 56-inning home run drought for Sounds batters.
The Sounds extended the lead to 4-1 later in the frame when Elian Herrera (2-for-4) and Eugenio Velez, who had both singled, scored when Halton reached on an infield single to third and Christian Villanueva misfired to first on the play.
Jokisch (2-2) took the loss despite authoring a quality start of his own for Iowa. He gave up three earned runs on nine hits over his six frames of action.
Falu, who replaced Green as part of a double-switch, extended the Sounds' lead to 5-1 in the seventh when he led off a solo homer to left off Jeff Antigua, the infielder's first roundtripper of the season. Falu has reached base safely in each of his last 15 contests, batting .353 (18-for-51) over that stretch.
The Nashville bullpen did its job in closing out the victory. Eric Marzec and Kyle Heckathorn each followed Pena with a scoreless inning of relief work before Michael Blazek blanked Iowa in the ninth.
The Sounds will look to complete their first series sweep of the year on Monday afternoon when the teams wrap up the series with a 12:05 p.m. finale at Greer. Red -hot right-hander Mike Fiers (5-0, 0.80) will make the start for the Sounds to face an unannounced Iowa hurler.