Des Moines, IA – Kyle Hendricks allowed one earned run in seven innings and Javy Baez hit a game-winning two-run homer in the sixth inning to lift the Iowa Cubs (4-4) past the Nashville Sounds (3-5) 5-1 on Thursday afternoon at Principal Park.
Hendricks picked up his first win of the year, bouncing back from a season debut where he gave up a career-high seven runs against Memphis. After the first two batter reached for Nashville, the Cubs right-hander sent down nine of the next 10 hitters before giving up a fourth-inning run. Hendricks gave up nothing the rest of way, and finished his afternoon allowing five hits and striking out five, while throwing 61 of his 87 pitches for strikes. It was his fifth quality start in seven outings with the Cubs, and Cubs starters have now registered a quality start in five straight games.
The top prospect in the Brewers organization, Jimmy Nelson, was dominant for Nashville for the first five innings before allowing three runs in the decisive sixth inning. Nelson sent down nine of the first 10 hitters he faced –- striking out four. The Cubs got to Nelson in the sixth, getting three hits, a walk and three runs. Iowa’s center fielder Matt Szczur sparked the rally with an infield single to short and a stolen base of second. The set up Baez’s second home run of the year –- a towering drive to right-center field –- on an 0-2 fastball. Chris Valaika doubled in Josh Vitters to finish the scoring in the inning the I-Cubs.
Neil Ramirez and Blake Parker finished the game for the Cubs. The pitchers struck out three hitters in two scoreless innings. Cubs pitchers struck out 43 in the four-game series. They lead the PCL with 81 punchouts through eight games.
Arismendy Alcantara and Valaika were the other contributing members for Iowa offensively. Alcantara went 2-for-4 with a double, registering his first multi-hit game at the triple-A level. The Cubs second basemen has a team-high four doubles on the season. He was second in the Southern League with 36 two-baggers last year. Valaika had his first multiple RBI game on the season. His single in the eighth inning gave the Cubs some insurance.
The Cubs will head on the road for the first time season, beginning a four-game series with the Memphis Redbirds. Left-hander's Eric Jokisch (0-0, 0.00) and Tyler Lyons (0-0, 1.50) square off in a rematch from a game on April 6 -- a contest the Cubs won 4-3. First pitch from AutoZone Park is scheduled for 7:05. The game will be broadcast live on AM 940 and streamed at iowacubs.com with the pregame show starting at 6:45. The I-Cubs return to Principal Park for an eight-game home stand starting Tuesday night against New Orleans.
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