Des Moines, IA - The Memphis Redbirds (54-52) won a see-saw affair, 6-4, over the Iowa Cubs (57-51) to sweep the double-header. The Redbirds have won all three games in this five-game set by a combined total of four runs, and they lead the season series 10-4. The Cubs have been swept in three of their six double-headers this season, including two to Memphis.
The Redbirds jumped out front with an unearned run off RH Yoanner Negrin in the opening inning, but the Cubs responded in the bottom half of the frame. After back-to-back singles by Ryan Kalish and Logan Watkins, Javy Baez hit a three-run homer in the first inning for the second time of the double-header. Baez has a team-high 19 home runs and 73 RBI. He has hit safely in 20 of his last 21 games, batting .325 (27-for-83) with nine doubles, eight home runs, and 26 RBI in that stretch.
Memphis would tie the game at three in the second inning with two more unearned runs. With runners on first and second, RHP Boone Whiting laid down a bunt that Negrin fielded and threw wild of third base and into the Cubs bullpen allowing both runners to score. The Cubs re-took the lead later that inning as Josh Vitters blasted a home run over the suites in left field, his second in his last four games after hitting just one in his 56 games prior.
The Redbirds responded again in the third inning to take their second lead of the game. Negrin issued back-to-back two-out walks, and Ed Easley knocked them both in with a double to left field to give Memphis a 5-4 lead. They would add some insurance off RH Alberto Cabrera in the sixth inning when Tommy Phamm ripped a single to left field to score Easley.
Whiting settled in after allowing those four early runs. He didn't give up any more runs over his final three innings, including working out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the third. Whiting matched his season-high with nine strikeouts, which he also set against the Cubs on April 13, to pick up his fourth victory of the campaign. LH Pedro Feliciano and RH Jorge Rondon tossed two scoreless innings of relief to close out the win.
Negrin, making his second start of the year among 18 appearances, set down seven of the final eight hitters he faced, but took the his third loss of the year. He worked five innings and gave up two earned runs on six hits and two walks.
The Cubs and Redbirds conclude their five-game series over three days by playing another double-header Sunday afternoon starting at 1:05. RH Dallas Beeler (7-3, 3.25), who has thrown quality starts in nine of his last 10 outings, will face off against LH Marco Gonzales (1-1, 5.40) in the first game.
There will be a half hour break before RH Carlos Pimentel (2-6, 4.94) and LH Nick Greenwood (3-3, 2.55) battle in game two. Both games will be seven innings and broadcast live on AM 940 and streamed live at iowacubs.com with the On-Deck Circle Pre-Game Show starting at 12:45 p.m.