Omaha, NE (August 26, 2010)
- The Omaha Royals (73-60) scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and had the bases loaded with one out, but Jeff Stevens slammed the door and the Iowa Cubs (75-57) hung on for a 7-6 win at Rosenblatt Stadium tonight. The Cubs' win evens this series at 1-1.
The Cubs used their power to build an early lead against Royals' starter Matt Herges. Two batters into the game, Marquez Smith belted a solo home run to get the Cubs on the board. It was Smith's 14th home run of the season and his 10th in August.
The Royals tied the game with an unearned run in the bottom of the third inning, but the Cubs came right back in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Jason Dubois and Bryan LaHair each singled and both scored on Bobby Scales' double to the wall in left-center to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead.
In the top of the fifth, the Cubs had runners on second and third with two outs and the Royals elected to intentionally walk Brady Snyder to load the bases for Dubois. The move backfired when Dubois snuck a home run over the wall in right for the Cubs' sixth grand slam of the season, extending the lead to 7-1. After a walk to LaHair, Herges gave way to Federico Castendad out of the bullpen. Castenada worked 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. Brian Anderson and Victor Marte each pitched a scoreless inning as the Royals' relievers kept the Cubs scoreless over the final 4.1 innings.
Cubs' starter Jeff Samardzija was cruising through the first five innings, but ran into some trouble in the sixth. After a leadoff walk to David Lough, Mike Moustakas belted the first pitch he saw for a home run to right that cut the Cubs' lead to 7-3. Samardzija walked Scott Thorman and Lucas May before getting the second out. Jordan Parraz extended the inning with an infield single to load the bases and then Samardzija walked Irving Falu to force in the third run of the inning. The Cubs turned to Luke Sommer out of the bullpen, and he got Jarrod Dyson to ground out to end the inning.
Sommer got two outs and allowed two hits in the seventh, but David Cales came in to get the final out of the inning and then worked a perfect eighth.
The Cubs turned to Justin Berg for the bottom of the ninth. Dyson led off with a single, went to second on a passed ball, and to third on a ground out. Moustakas drove him in with a double to left-center and the Cubs lead was down to 7-5. After hitting Ed Lucas with a pitch, Berg came out and Jeff Stevens came in to face Thorman who ended last night's game with a homer off Stevens. Tonight, Thorman grounded a single to left that drove in Moustakas and advanced Lucas to third. A walk to May loaded the bases and prompted a visit to the mound from pitching coach Mike Mason. The Cubs regrouped after the meeting and Stevens got Kurt Mertins to pop out in foul territory and struck out Parraz to end the game.
Samardzija (11-2) was credited with the win and now leads the team in victories. Herges (7-4) was charged with the loss. Stevens earned his sixth save which ties a career high.
Memphis also won tonight, so the Cubs remain a game and a half in front of the Redbirds with 12 games remaining in the regular season. The Royals fall to two and a half games back.
The Cubs and Royals continue this series tomorrow night at 7:05 PM at Rosenblatt Stadium. RH Jay Jackson (10-8, 4.27) will start for the Cubs against RH Brian Bannister (0-0, 0.00) on Major League rehab for the Royals. The game will be broadcast live on AM 940 with the Safeco On-Deck Circle Pre-Game Show starting at 6:40.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.