A fifth inning grand slam off the bat of Javier Baez turned a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead, helping the Iowa Cubs (26-21) take a 7-3 victory over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (23-26) at Principal Park on Sunday afternoon.
Earlier in the game, Baez extended his season-high hitting streak to 10 games with a single. After a slow start, Baez has been on fire of late. During his current hitting streak, Baez is hitting .390 (16-for-41) with 4 HR and 11 RBI.
On the mound, Kyle Hendricks provided another quality start for the Iowa rotation. With Hendricks start on Sunday, Iowa has seven consecutive quality starts and 16 quality starts in the last 24 games. Hendricks (5-3) finished the day pitching six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out two.
Iowa jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Sky Sox starter Christian Friedrich (1-5) in the second when Matt Szczur doubled to left, scoring Christian Villanueva who singled in the previous at bat.
Down 3-1, Iowa mounted its big rally in the fifth. Casper Wells led off with a single to center and advanced to third on a double by Eli Whiteside. After retiring the next two batters, Friedrich walked Justin Ruggiano to load the bases which set the stage for Baez’ grand slam to right-center field.
Whiteside added an RBI single in the sixth and Arismendy Alcantara capped Iowa’s scoring by blasting his fifth home run of the season in the seventh, giving Iowa a 7-3 lead.
Yoanner Negrin and Blake Parker combined to pitch three scoreless innings for Iowa to seal the victory for Iowa.
The final game of the series is Monday at Principal Park.
NOTES: In news that overshadowed the game on Sunday, the Chicago Cubs announced the signing of Manny Ramirez. Ramirez will report to extended spring training in Arizona before joining the Iowa Cubs as a player/coach. Chicago GM Theo Epstein said Ramirez will not have a future with the Chicago Cubs as a player but added that he can provide a great resource and mentor the younger players with Iowa. Ramirez’ resume includes a career .310 batting average with 555 HR and 1831 RBI, 2002 AL batting title, and 2004 World Series MVP to go along with being a 12 time all-star.