Des Moines, IA - Elliot Soto knocked in David Bote with a one-out single in the 11th inning to lift the Iowa Cubs (71-70) to a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over the Oklahoma City RedHawks (74-67) on a rainy Friday night at Principal Park. The Cubs lead the season series 7-6, including a 3-2 mark at Principal Park. The Cubs must win the final three games of this series and have the Omaha Storm Chasers lose their final three contests in order to clinch their first post-season birth since 2008.
Andrew Ely started the game-winning rally by blooping a single into left field off RH Jorge De Leon. Jae-Hoon Ha bunted Ely over to second base on the next base to set up Soto's heroics. Bote pinch-ran for Ely, and he scored on the next pitch when Soto laced a single to right field to give the Cubs their seventh walk-off win of the year.
RH Carlos Pimentel retired five of the six hitters he faced in two scoreless innings of relief to get his fourth win of the season. He has a 3.86 ERA (11ER/25.2IP) in 13 relief appearances compared to a 5.93 ERA (49ER/74.1IP) in 15 starts this season.
The Cubs broke a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning when they got a run without the benefit of a hit. Jonathan Mota reached on an error. He stole second base -- just his second in 139 career games with Iowa -- and advanced to third on a throwing error. Ely then drove a sacrifice fly to left field to give the Cubs their first lead of the game. RH Brian Schlitter was charged with an unearned run and blown save in the ninth inning as the RedHawks tied the game. Preston Tucker singled to start it off and was removed for pinch-runner Ruben Sosa. He stole second base and went to third base when a throw from Eli Whiteside went off of the glove of Ely and into shallow left field. Sosa would score a batter later as Domingo Santana roped a single up the middle. With runners at second and third, Schlitter got out of the inning by making a terrific sliding stop and throw on a ball that went just past the mound.
The RedHawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead when they led off the first and second innings with home runs. Jonathan Villar blasted the second pitch of the game from LH Chris Rusin over the right-center field wall for his third home run in 49 games with Oklahoma City this season. Santana hit his team-best 16th long ball an inning later. He reached base a team-high five times, collecting two hits and three walks in the contest. Rusin gave up multiple home runs in a start for only the fourth time in 23 starts this season. The RedHawks came into play today having hit a PCL-low 15 home runs this month.
Oklahoma City added a run on to its lead in the fourth inning. Santana reached on a walk, advanced to second base on a wild pitch, and scored on a double by L.J. Hoes. Max Stassi followed with a single to center field, but Ha threw out Hoes at the plate.
The Cubs got three runs in the fifth inning off reliever Tommy Shirley after a rain delay. Mota started the rally by ripping a triple into the right field corner for this second hit of the game. Ha got the Cubs on the board with a bloop single into left field. A walk and infield single loaded the bases for Ryan Kalish. Kalish hit a chopper to third that Ronald Torreyes couldn't handle for a two-run error that evened the game. Shirley got out of the frame without any further damage by inducing a double play ball.
RH Yoanner Negrin allowed four hits and three walks in three shutout innings of relief. He worked around baserunners in each inning, including escaping a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the seventh inning. RH Arodys Vizcaino followed with a scoreless eighth inning. He gave up a two-out walk and single, but got a ground out to end the inning.
Both starting pitchers took no-decisions after their nights ended early due to a one hour and 19 minute rain delay in the bottom of the fourth inning. Rusin allowed three runs on seven hits, while walking one. RH Nick Tropeano of Oklahoma City gave up two hits in 3.1 shutout innings.
The Cubs and RedHawks play the second game of their series Saturday night at 7:05. RH Dallas Beeler (8-6, 3.61), who has thrown four straight quality starts, will square off against LH Luis Cruz (1-1, 7.36). The game will be broadcast live on AM 940 and 104.5 FM. It will also be streamed live at iowacubs.com, with the On-Deck Circle Pre-Game Show starting at 6:45 PM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.