Des Moines, IA - The New Orleans Zephyrs (53-49) hit two early home runs and held off a late rally to beat the Iowa Cubs (54-48) 5-4 on Monday night at Principal Park. The Zephyrs evened the season series at four games apiece, and have gone 34-18 against the Cubs since 2011.
New Orleans used a pair of long balls to jump out to the early lead against RH Dan Straily. Jake Marisnick took the second pitch of the game over the left field wall to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. Marisnick added a second-inning double, and has hit .400 (22-for-55) over his streak. Zack Cox blasted his seventh home run of the campaign an inning later to score Ed Lucas and give New Orleans a 3-0 lead. The Zephyrs have homered in 14 of their last 15 games, and their 116 home runs on the season are third in the PCL. The Zephyrs would score another run in the second inning as Juan Diaz hit a two-out run-scoring single to right field for a four-run advantage.
Straily didn't allow any runs over his final four innings, but worked out of trouble a couple times, including a first-and-third no-outs jam in the fifth inning. He allowed the four earned runs on seven hits, two walks and seven strikeouts in his 101-pitch outing. The six innings and seven punchouts were the most he's recorded in three starts with Iowa. Straily took his second loss with the Cubs, and he hasn't recorded a win since he beat the Cubs on June 14 as a member of the Sacramento River Cats.
The Cubs would cut a 5-1 deficit in half in the seventh inning when Lars Anderson launched his third home run of the campaign just over the left field wall. After getting off to a 2-for-28 start to the year, Anderson has hit .382 (21-for-55) over his last 21 games with five doubles, three homers, 15 RBI and 10 runs scored in that span.
Iowa crept a run closer an inning later against Zephys reliever Chaz Roe. Matt Szczur led off the frame legging out an infield hit on a chopper to shortstop. Roe struck the next two hitters out before Kris Bryant singled on a roller to right field to put runners at the corners. Chris Valaika then ripped the first pitch he saw into center field to make it a 5-4 game. Zephyrs manager Andy Haines brought in Arquimedes Caminero to face Ryan Kalish. After a wild pitch put the go-ahead run at second base, Caminero got Kalish to strike out to end the threat. He retired the side in order in the ninth inning to record sixth save of the season.
RH Elih Villanueva recorded his team-leading ninth win for the Zephyrs. He worked through six innings and only gave up an unearned run on three hits, one walk and four strikeouts. He's allowed three earned runs in 19 innings (1.42 ERA) over three starts against the I-Cubs this season.
Iowa got its first run in the third inning by scoring an unearned run. Anderson reached on an error by the shortstop to start things off, and he would score on a two-out RBI single by Brett Jackson to right field. Jackson has hit second in the batting order for his last four games, and has batted .278 (5-for-18) with one homer, three RBI and three runs scored.
RH Kyuji Fujikawa worked the seventh inning in his first major-league rehab appearance for the I-Cubs. After retiring the first hitter, he surrendered a run on a double and RBI single to Justin Bour, who tried to stretch his hit into a double, and was thrown out by Kalish. Fujikawa inducted on a ground out to finish off his outing. The earned run was the first the right-hander has allowed this year in 6.2 innings over seven appearances between Rookie-Mesa and single-A Kane County.
RH Alberto Cabrera walked two hitters and struck out two in two scoreless innings of relief. He has given up just two earned runs in his last 17.2 innings (1.05 ERA).
Javy Baez went 1-for-4, and he has hit safely in 15 straight games. . The hitting streak is the longest for any I-Cub this season. Baez has hit .306 (19-for-62) with five home runs and 14 RBI in that span.
The Cubs and Zephyrs are back at it again Tuesday night for game two of the four-game series. RH Dallas Beeler (6-3, 3.56) toes the rubber for the Cubs against LH Andrew Heaney (3-1, 4.25) with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05. Don't miss the annual appearance from The Famous Chicken. The action will be broadcast live on AM 940 and streamed live at iowacubs.com with the On-Deck Circle Pre-Game Show starting at 6:45 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.