Rarely will a victory be uglier than this one. On Thursday, the Iowa Cubs (8-6) committed six errors, yet somehow managed to take a 5-4 victory over the New Orleans Zephyrs (4-11). In fitting fashion on this day, what proved to be the winning run was scored when Logan Watkins scrambled home on a passed ball by Zephyrs catcher Rob Brantly.
Iowa starter Eric Joksich didn’t get much help defensively. Shortstop Logan Watkins committed two first inning errors but Jokisch coaxed Kyle Jensen to pop out to Chris Valaika to end the threat.
Jokisch didn’t do himself any favors defensively. With two runners on and one out, Josh Rodriguez hit a grounder back to Jokisch. Jokisch turned to throw to second base but threw the ball into center field, loading the bases. Two batters later, Jake Marisnick singled to right, scoring two Zephyrs, cutting the Iowa lead to 3-2 in the fifth.
The Zephyrs would tie the game at 3-3 in the sixth. Jokisch committed his second throwing error in as many innings, again throwing the ball into center field in an attempt to force the runner at second base.
Iowa would post two runs in the seventh and take the lead for good against New Orleans reliever Carter Capps (0-1). With two outs, Capps walked Christian Villanueva and Watkins. Eli Whiteside followed with a flair down the right field line that landed on the line for an RBI single, giving the Cubs a 4-3 lead. A passed ball allowed Watkins to score, giving Iowa a two-run lead.
Jokisch pitched 5.2 innings and gave up three unearned runs. Alberto Cabrera (2-0) pitched 1.1 scoreless innings in relief and picked up the victory. Brian Schlitter gave up a run in the ninth but collected his second save of the season.
The Cubs got off to a good start offensively, taking a 3-0 lead in the third. Matt Szczur led off with a single to the shortstop. Arismendy Alcantara followed with an RBI triple, his second triple in as many days. Two batters later, Chris Valaika doubled to center, scoring Alcantara. Valaika would come around to score on an RBI single to left by Watkins.
Valaika, Watkins, and Wihteside had two hits each for Iowa.
The six errors by Iowa occurred last on July 21, 2004. On that day, they suffered a 16-3 drubbing at the hands of the Nashville Sounds.
The final game of the series is Friday evening at Principal Park.
NOTES: Brett Jackson was placed on the disabled list with an oblique strain. Jonathan Mota is up from the double-A Tennessee Smokies. Mota appeared in an Iowa Cubs uniform during parts of the 2010-2012 seasons.