Francisco Pena homered twice and Storm Chasers (49-45) pitching held the Cubs offense to one run as Omaha defeated the Iowa Cubs 7-1 on Thursday night at Werner Park. Iowa (49-44) dropped three of four games to Omaha but still lead the season series 7-5.
The lone Iowa run came on a Kris Bryant blast in the seventh. Bryant launched the first pitch he saw from Omaha reliever Michael Mariot deep over the left field wall for his ninth home run of the season. In 23 games with Iowa, Bryant is batting .329 with 9 HR and 23 RBI.
Rafael Lopez had a big night at the plate for Iowa. Lopez picked up a career-high four hits in the loss. Lopez raised his batting average 36 points on Thursday and is hitting .280 in 24 games since being called up from double-A Tennessee.
Carlos Pimentel got the start for the Cubs and lasted into the sixth. Pimentel (1-6) allowed four runs over 5.2 innings on six hits and four walks. Arodys Vizcaino took over for Pimentel and continued to struggle. Vizcaino allowed three runs in 1.1 innings. In seven games with Iowa, Vizcaino has a 15.63 ERA and has allowed 12 hits in 6.1 innings.
Iowa opens up a brief four-game, three-day homestand against the Oklahoma City RedHawks on Friday night at Principal Park.
NOTES: Thursday was a good day for recent Iowa Cubs in Cincinnati. Arismendy Alcantara had a breakout game after going 0-for-4 in his debut on Wednesday. Alcantara drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third to pick up his first major league RBI. Two innings later, Alcantara drilled a two-run double to left for his first hit in a Chicago Cubs uniform. Alcantara finished the day 4-for-5 with 3 RBI, double, triple, and two runs scored. Alcantara appears to have turned some heads while in Chicago. He was slated to be sent back to Chicago when Darwin Barney was activated from the paternity list but numerous reports out of Chicago indicate he will remain with the Cubs for now.
Kyle Hendricks made his first major league start. Hendricks struggled in the first inning, allowing three Reds runs but settled down nicely and allowed only one run over his next five innings. Hendricks lasted six innings, allowing four runs on five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
Blake Parker, in his second appearance since being recalled by Chicago, pitched two scoreless innings and picked up the victory for the Cubs.