TODAY'S GAMES: The Iowa Cubs and Oklahoma City RedHawks play games two and three of a four-game series in three days at Principal Park. The RedHawks are the Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Houston Astros. This is the final series prior to the Triple-A All-Star Break.
SECOND-INNING ERUPTION: The Cubs sent 10 men to the plate and scored six runs in the bottom of the second inning in a 7-4 victory over the RedHawks last night. Chris Valaika ignited the rally with a two-run homer to center field and Logan Watkins delivered a double with the bases loaded to drive in three. Javy Baez added an RBI double to cap the scoring. RedHawks' starter Paul Clemens (4-1) also allowed a run in the first, but worked through six innings in his first loss of the season. He walked five in the game, a season-high for a single pitcher against the Cubs this season.
RUSIN ROULETTE: LH Chris Rusin (7-10) allowed two runs on five hits over seven innings and struck out a season-high nine to earn the win last night. Rusin has won his last three starts and has 11 quality starts in 17 outings this season. Rusin has been called up to Chicago for two relief appearances this season, but still ranks fifth in the PCL with 107.0 innings pitched this year. Rusin has figured in the decision of all of his starts this season and 27 of his last 28 starts in an Iowa uniform.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: IF Logan Watkins had a pair of doubles last night to become the 11th Cubs' player this season to have two doubles in game this year. Watkins has hit safely in three straight games and is 4-for-13 (.308) with three doubles, a home run, and four RBI in those contests. With his bases-clearing double in the second inning last night, Watkins improved to 5-for-8 with two doubles, and 13 RBI when batting with the bases loaded this season.
THE FUTURES IS NOW: SS Javy Baez and 3B Kris Bryant have been placed on the inactive list for the rest of the weekend. They were selected to play in the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game at Target Field in Minnesota tomorrow and are traveling to Minnesota today. Baez was 1-for-4 with two RBI last night to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Bryant's 31 home runs between double-A Tennessee and Iowa are tied for the most in the minors.
VS. OKLAHOMA CITY: The Cubs lead this series 1-0. The season series is tied 2-2. The RedHawks won the first series 2-1 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark last weekend. The Cubs will return to Oklahoma City for a five-game series, August 7-11. The RedHawks will be back to Principal Park to finish the regular season, August 29-September 1. Last year, the teams split the season series 8-8, with both clubs going 6-2 in their home ballpark. The Cubs lead the all-time PCL series 117-108 and hold a 64-48 advantage at home.
THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE BATS: While the Cubs had an impressive second inning last night that led to a win, the team's offense continues to struggle against opposing bullpens. The Cubs went nine full innings without a hit from the fifth through the 13th innings on Tuesday afternoon at Omaha. In the last eight games, the Cubs are 15-for-106 (.142) against opposing relievers. The Cubs are batting a league-low .224 (87-for-388) in July and .246 (750-for-402) on the year. Only Nashville (399) has scored fewer runs than the Cubs (402) this year.
DAYS OF OUR LIVES: The Cubs are a league-best 25-4 in day games this season, including a 16-2 mark at home. Last night, the Cubs and Nashville became the fourth and fifth teams to reach 50 wins in the PCL this season. Half of the Cubs' victories have come in day games this year.
ANDERSON ACTIVATED: 1B Lars Anderson has been activated from the disabled list today. Anderson has been out since May 17 when he underwent tests to diagnose the cause of spells of dizziness.
MOTA RETURNS: IF Jonathan Mota returns to the I-Cubs today for his second stint with the team this season. Mota began the year at double-A Tennessee, but played with Iowa from April 17-June 3. He hit .224 (15-for-67) with a double, a home run, and eight RBI in 26 games in his first stint with the I-Cubs.
PINCH-HITTING COACH: Hitting Coach Brian Harper is away from the team this series on a family matter. Special Asst. to the General Manager for Player Development/Hitting Coordinator Anthony Iapoce is here this series to help the I-Cubs staff.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.