Another must-win game, another win. Kyle Hendricks overcame a rough start to pitch eight strong innings, leading the Iowa Cubs (64-75) to a 5-2 victory over the Omaha Storm Chasers (67-72) on Wednesday at Principal Park. Iowa remains a long shot to make the playoffs but cut another game off the Omaha lead and now trail the Storm Chasers by three games with five to play. The Memphis Redbirds remained one game behind Omaha after a loss to New Orleans on Wednesday.
Hendricks (3-0) didn't get off to the start he was looking for, yielding four straight singles to begin the game as Omaha took a 2-0 lead in the first. From there however, Hendricks only allowed two hits over the next seven innings, allowing only one runner as far as second base.
The big inning for Iowa came in the fourth. A leadoff single by Brad Nelson followed by an Edgar Gonzalez double, put runners on second and third. Ty Wright followed with a two-run single up the middle to tie the score at 2-2. The strange play of the night occurred a couple batters later. With runners on first and third, Omaha pitcher Felipe Paulino threw a pitch in the dirt. Omaha catcher Manny Pina blocked the ball but as the ball was rolling, used his catcher’s mask to stop the ball, an illegal play. Home plate umpire Chris Segal immediately called the violation and awarded the runner from third, home plate and the runner from first base was awarded second. Pina was charged with an error. Tim Torres followed with an RBI single, giving Iowa a 4-2 lead.
Iowa would add another run in the fifth on an RBI single by Wright.
Hendricks tied a season-high, pitching eight innings, giving up two runs on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts.
Brian Schlitter pitched a three-up, three-down ninth to pick up his 20th save of the season for Iowa.
The final game of the series is Thursday at Principal Park.