Christian Villanueva and Rafael Lopez each blasted grand slams and the offense scored a new season-high in runs as the Iowa Cubs (33-28) pounded the Fresno Grizzlies, 17-2 on Monday night at Chukchansi Park. Iowa bats were as hot as the 108 degree temperature in Fresno.
In addition to his grand slam in the ninth, Lopez also had a two-run single in the sixth and an RBI groundout in the fifth. Lopez went 2-for-5 with a career-high 7 RBI. The 7 RBI is also the most RBI by an Iowa batter this season.
Iowa scored single runs in each of the first three innings. In the first, Javier Baez smacked his ninth home run of the season, coming off Grizzlies starter Jason Berken (7-5). A Matt Szczur RBI double in the second and an RBI single by Ryan Kalish in the third gave Iowa a 3-1 lead after three innings.
Iowa posted two more runs in the fifth. Javier Baez narrowly missed his second home run of the night, tripling off the center field wall. Lopez would drive him in with a ground ball to second. Later in the inning, Villanueva added an RBI single.
A six-run sixth put the game away for Iowa, highlighted by Villanueva’s grand slam. The last time the Iowa Cubs hit two grand slams in a game was on 8/12/2006 when Micah Hoffpauir and Lou Montanez accomplished the feat.
On a night when the offense provided an avalanche of runs, the pitching didn’t need them. Tsuyoshi Wada (6-3) provided another quality start for the team, tossing six innings and allowing only one run on eight hits, walking one and striking out two.
Villanueva had two hits and 5 RBI. Baez went 3-for-5 with 2 RBI, missing the cycle by a double, and Arismendy Alcantara added three hits. Iowa tied a season-high in hits with 17.
Game two of the series is Tuesday night.