Eli Whiteside, the game-tying run, was left stranded at third base in the bottom of the ninth as the Iowa Cubs (67-63) dropped a 3-2 decision to the Salt Lake Bees (54-75) on Sunday at Principal Park. Iowa’s poor play at home continues, having now dropped 10 of the last 11 games at Principal Park. The Cubs are 1-5 on the current home stand with two games remaining. The Cubs dropped to two games behind the Omaha Storm Chasers in the PCL American North division.
The Bees began the scoring with two runs in the second inning, coming off Iowa starter Felix Doubront. Vance Albitz’ single to left scored Ryan Wheeler and former Iowa outfielder Tony Campana followed with an RBI groundout to give the Bees a 2-0 lead.
Iowa had the makings of a rally in the bottom of the inning but it was snuffed out when Salt Lake pulled off the rare triple play. Back-to-back singles from Manny Ramirez and Josh Vitters put runners on first and second. Logan Watkins’ line drive up the middle was speared by pitcher Wade LeBlanc who fired to shortstop Shawn O’Malley to force Ramirez. O’Malley then forced Vitters out at first to pull of the feat.
Salt Lake took a 3-0 lead in the sixth on back-to-back doubles by Roberto Lopez and Ryan Wheeler, both coming off Doubront. In his second start on a rehab assignment from Chicago, Doubront (0-1) picked up a quality start despite being saddled with the loss. Doubront tossed six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and one walk with four strikeouts.
Iowa got one run back in the bottom of the sixth. Mike Olt singled to left and scored two batters later when Josh Vitters drilled an RBI double down the left field line to score Olt.
In the ninth, Logan Watkins walked and advanced to third on a double by Whiteside. Elliot Soto’s RBI grounder to short scored Watkins and sent Whiteside to third. Bees’ reliever Cam Bedrosian then struck out Ryan Kalish to end the game. Bedrosian, son of former major leaguer Steve Bedrosian, picked up his first save for the Bees.
LeBlanc (10-3) picked up his tenth victory of the season, going six innings, allowing one run on seven hits and two walks while striking out eight Iowa batters.
Game three of the series is Monday night at Principal Park.
NOTES: Kris Bryant was back at Principal Park and in uniform on Sunday. Bryant, who left Saturday night’s game with an injury, is day-to-day with a foot contusion. There is no specific timetable for Bryant’s return to the lineup…….Junior Lake is expected to be in uniform for Iowa on Monday. Lake was optioned to Iowa on Friday.