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Bryant Homers in Triple-A Debut to Lead Cubs

Wada allows two runs in 6.2 innings to get the win
June 20, 2014

Des Moines, IA -- Kris Bryant -- the Cubs' second-best prospect according to Baseball America -- launched a two-run homer in his triple-A debut and LH Tsuyoshi Wada struck out seven over 6.2 innings to lift the Iowa Cubs (36-35) past the El Paso Chihuahuas (34-41) 6-2 on Thursday night at Principal Park. The Cubs have taken two of the first three in this four-game series, the clubs only meetings on the year.

Wada retired the first six hitters before giving up a double to Tyler Greene and a run-scoring single to opposing pitcher Jason Lane. The southpaw would settle in from there, striking out the side in the fourth, escaping a jam in the fifth after the first two hitters reached, and setting down all three batters he faced in the sixth. At 89 pitches, Wada took the mound for the seventh and allowed a leadoff home run to Adam Moore -- the 10th Wada has surrendered this year. He would then get two of the next three hitters before being pulled with two outs. In total, Wada gave up four hits, two earned runs and two walks to go along with the seven strikeouts in recording his ninth quality start of the year. Wada came into the day ranking fourth in the PCL in strikeouts, sixth in ERA and lowered that mark to 2.81.

Lane held the Cubs off the hit column for three innings, but Javy Baez and Chris Valaika had back-to-back knocks to start the fourth. Josh Vitters continued his hot hitting by punching a soft fly ball in front of Jeff Francoeur in right field to get the Cubs on the board and tie the game, 1-1. Vitters added another single and is hitting .387 (12-for-31) with four RBI and four runs scored in his last eight games.

The I-Cubs would score five runs over the next three frames to break the game open. Wada started a fifth inning rally by laying a bunt single down the third base line, and he would score on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Valaika to the warning track in center field. Valaika had two hits in three at-bats for his team-leading 22nd multi-hit contest. Iowa added on an inning later as Arismendy Alcantara plated Vitters with a solid two-strike single to center that was misplayed by CF Rico Noel allowing Casper Wells to score from first base. Alcantara has also been swinging a hot stick for Iowa. He finished 2-for-5 and stole his team-leading 15th base of the season. Alcantara, who made his fourth career start in center field, has reached base safely in 14 of his last 15 games and is hitting .345 (19-for-55) in that stretch.

Bryant provided the Cubs with some insurance runs in the seventh inning by belting his first triple-A home run over the right field wall. He fell behind in the count after taking the first two pitches for strikes, then took the next three pitches for balls before driving a fastball over the wall. Bryant struck out in his first at-bat and flew out to right field twice before launching the home run. The 22-year-old slugger was promoted from double-A Tennessee earlier in the day after leading the Southern League in 10 offensive categories, including hitting a league-high 22 home runs.

RH Yoanner Negrin recorded his first save of the season -- and his third of his professional career -- by working a scoreless final 2.1 innings, striking out four.

The Cubs are a perfect 29-0 when leading after seven innings and are one of two teams in the PCL that can hold that distinction.

The Cubs and Chihuahuas wrap up their four-game set by playing their final meeting on the year Friday night at 7:05 from Principal Park. RH Kyle Hendricks (7-3, 3.78) toes the slab for the Cubs against RH Donn Roach (0-0, 0.71). The game 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.