The Iowa Cubs knew they had something special at the beginning of the season when Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson joined the Triple-A squad's roster. Sunday provided a glimpse of just how special the pairing could be.
Rizzo homered twice and plated four runs while Jackson went deep and added three RBIs to fuel the Cubs' 14-3 win over Nashville in front of 7,042 at Principal Park.
The Cubs' top two prospects hit RBI singles in a five-run third inning and kicked off a six-run fourth with back-to-back shots. Rizzo scored Jackson with another home run that struck the right-field scoreboard in the seventh inning to wrap up Iowa's scoring.
"I hit that one well," Rizzo told The Des Moines Register. "I don't know if I've hit many balls harder than that one."
Sunday marked Rizzo's fifth multiple home run game of the season. The 22-year-old slugger, who finished 3-for-5, leads the Pacific Coast League and ranks third in the Minors with 20 homers on the season. His 1.143 OPS leads all Minor Leaguers.
While Rizzo has by all accounts met or even exceeded expectations, Jackson has not done quite as well. After going 2-for-4 with a stolen base Sunday, the outfielder is batting .265 with eight home runs and 12 steals through 60 games for Iowa this season. Those numbers are more or less are on par with the .274 average, 20 home runs and 21 steals through 115 games between Iowa and Double-A Tennessee in 2011.
Jackson and Rizzo weren't the only big contributors to the Cubs offense on Sunday. Juan Apodaca was 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs. The two-run blast in the fourth inning was the catcher's first homer since Sept. 6, 2010.
Iowa starter Chris Rusin surrendered two earned runs on six hits through seven innings and improved to 5-4 with a 3.81 ERA.
"Rusin was outstanding," Rizzo told the newspaper. "The wind was blowing out hard, but he kept the ball down and in the park."
After ending a six-game losing streak with a victory Thursday, the Cubs won four out of the six games in their series with the Sounds, which featured back-to-back doubleheaders Friday and Saturday. Their record stands at 29-35, 10 games behind Omaha for first place in the PCL American Northern Division.
But the current record didn't seem to bother the team's first baseman.
"We just took four of the last six against Nashville," Rizzo said. "We've got some momentum."