In what was surely one of the uglier games of the season, the Iowa Cubs (63-75) were able to overcome five errors en route to a 7-6 victory over the Omaha Storm Chasers (67-71) on Tuesday night at a sweltering Principal Park. With a heat index of over 100 degrees, fans were witness to a lackluster defensive effort in another must-win game for Iowa. Iowa remains alive, just barely, in the playoff race, now trailing Omaha by four games with six left to play. With a victory on Tuesday in New Orleans, the Memphis Redbirds (66-72) now trail Omaha by only one game.
Of the six runs scored by the Storm Chasers on Tuesday, five were unearned. The big inning for Omaha was a four run eighth which saw Iowa pitcher Zach Rosscup give up four runs, through no fault of his own. With a runner on first and one out, Omaha shortstop Pedro Ciriaco hit a ground ball to Iowa shortstop Edwin Maysonet. Maysonet fielded the ball and threw to second base where teammate Edgar Gonzalez whiffed on the catch, allowing a runner to third. Paulo Orlando followed with a grounder to Iowa third baseman Mike Olt. Olt committed his second error of the day, allowing a run to score and Orlando to reach base. The four unearned runs cut a comfortable 7-2 lead for Iowa to a tenuous 7-6 lead.
Brian Schlitter, who entered the game in the eighth, retired the Storm Chasers in order in the ninth to pick up his 19th save of the season for Iowa.
Iowa wasted no time scoring on Tuesday, putting up runs in each of the first three innings. Iowa manufactured most of its runs, pounding out 11 hits but only one for extra bases. RBI singles by Olt and Dave Sappelt, coupled with a sacrifice fly by Maysonet, put Iowa up 3-0 after two innings.
After Omaha scored two runs (one earned) in the third off Iowa starter Justin Grimm (3-3), Luis Flores blasted his fifth home run of the season over the center field wall in the bottom of the inning, giving Iowa a 4-2 lead after three.
Iowa would put up three runs in the sixth on a Gonzalez RBI single, and a two-run bases loaded single by Maysonet, giving the I-Cubs a 7-2 lead.
Game three of the series is Wednesday at Principal Park.