6,726 fans came out to Principal Park on Thursday to welcome Kris Bryant to triple-A baseball. After waiting out a 1 hour, 14 minute delay due to rain, it took until the seventh inning for the fans to see what they wanted. In his fourth plate appearance of the evening, Bryant blasted a 3-2 pitch over the right field wall for a two-run home run. It was Bryant’s first triple-A home run to go along with 22 he hit while a member of the double-A Tennessee Smokies this season.
In addition to Bryant, Iowa had some timely hitting and another quality start by Tsuyoshi Wada as the Iowa Cubs (36-35) took a 6-2 victory over the El Paso Chihuahuas (34-41). Wada (7-4) allowed two runs over 6.2 innings, giving up four hits and two walks while striking out seven El Paso batters.
Down 1-0 in the fourth, Josh Vitters tied the game at 1-1 on an RBI single to right, coming off El Paso starter Jason Lane (5-6). Vitters went 2-for-4 on Thursday and is hitting .387 (12-for-31) in his last eight games.
A sacrifice fly by Chris Valaika in the fifth gave Iowa the lead for good. Iowa increased its lead to 4-1 in the sixth when Arismendy Alcantara hit a run-scoring single to center. Another run would come in to score on the play when El Paso center fielder Rico Noel misplayed the ball for an error.
Bryant put the game away for Iowa in the seventh with his home run. Bryant is the third Iowa player this season that has homered for his first hit in an Iowa uniform, joining Baez and Ryan Kalish. In his three at-bats prior to the home run, Bryant struck out and flew out to both right and center field.
Yoanner Negrin pitched 2.1 scoreless innings in relief of Wada to pick up his first save of the season for Iowa.
The final game of the series is Friday night at Principal Park.
NOTES: With Bryant being added to the roster, Christian Villanueva was assigned to the double-A Tennessee Smokies. Villanueva wasted little time in contributing to his new team, hitting a walk-off single for the Smokies on Thursday night.
Arodys Vizcaino was also added to the Iowa roster. Vizcaino is the tenth rated prospect in the Chicago Cubs organization according to Baseball America. Vizcaino was acquired from the Atlanta Braves in 2012 but has battled elbow problems, missing the majority of the last two seasons. To make room for Vizcaino, Frank Batista was assigned back to the Smokies.