Javier Baez blasted a two-out, two-run home run in the top of the seventh and the bullpen held off a late rally as the Iowa Cubs (34-33) took a slim 4-3 victory over the Sacramento River Cats (40-30) on Sunday at Raley Field. The win snapped Iowa’s season-high five game losing streak.
Baez’ tenth home run of the season, scoring Arismendy Alcantara, came on a 1-0 pitch from River Cats reliever Eric O’Flaherty (0-1) and broke a 2-2 tie, giving Iowa a 4-2 lead.
Zac Rosscup gave up a run in the eighth to cut the Iowa lead to 4-3. Marcus Hatley came on to pitch the ninth, trying to pick up his first save of the season. Tyler Ladendorf led off the ninth for Sacramento with a bunt single and Ryan Lipkin reached on an attempted sacrifice bunt to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Hatley then struck out back-to-back River Cats and coaxed Daric Barton to pop out to Baez to end the game and secure the victory for Kyle Hendricks.
Hendricks (7-5) gave up two early runs to the River Cats in the first, on a Shane Peterson triple, but settled down nicely after. Hendricks retired 15 of the last 16 batters he faced, the only base runner coming on an Alcantara throwing error in the seventh. Hendricks pitched seven innings, allowing two runs on only four hits and two walks while striking out six.
Baez went 2-for-4 with a home run and 2 RBI and Alcantara picked up two hits, including a double, and scored two runs.
Iowa will go for the series split on Monday afternoon in Sacramento before heading home to Principal Park to open an eight-game homestand on Tuesday.