Opening Day of the 2014 Pacific Coast League baseball season was a tough one for the Iowa Cubs (0-1). A crowd of 4,041 fans braved chilly temperatures, drizzle, and fog as the Memphis Redbirds (1-0) defeated the I-Cubs 10-2 on Thursday night at Principal Park.
No doubt, many in the crowd were there to witness the triple-A debut of heralded Chicago Cubs prospect Javier Baez. Baez, rated the 5th best prospect in all of baseball according to Baseball America, finished the evening 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts to go along with a throwing error.
Chris Rusin got the start for Iowa and gave up three runs in the first, on home runs by Randal Grichuk and former Iowa Cubs utility player Scott Moore. Rusin (0-1) would allow two more runs in the fourth on an RBI double by Grichuk and an RBI single by Oscar Taveras. On the night, Rusin was charged with five runs on six hits, with three walks and two strikeouts, in 3.2 innings.
Iowa got on the board in the third on a line drive home run by Josh Vitters. Vitters picked up two of Iowa’s six hits on the night.
A five run Memphis ninth put any hopes of a comeback on ice. The first six batters of the inning reached base for the Redbirds, all off I-Cubs all-purpose pitcher Casey Coleman. Coleman was charged with four earned runs in one inning pitched.
Iowa would add a run in the ninth on an RBI grounder by Matt Szczur. Third baseman Christian Villanueva picked up two hits for Iowa while Arismendy Alcantara and Lars Anderson each had one hit on the night.
David Aardsma (1-0) picked up the win in relief for Memphis, pitching a scoreless fifth inning.
Game two of the four-game series is Friday night at Principal Park.