Sunday was one of those days for the Iowa Cubs. Reliable starter Brooks Raley gave up five runs in the first and left with an injury in the third as the Memphis Redbirds (65-71) cruised to an 11-5 victory over Iowa (61-75). With the loss, Iowa drops to six games behind the first place Omaha Storm Chasers with nine games remaining.
Memphis pounded out 16 hits on the day and didn't waste any time getting started. The first four Memphis batters reached base against Raley, including back-to-back doubles by Justin Christian and Brock Peterson. The Peterson double plated two runs. The big blow came later in the first when Vance Albitz took an 0-1 pitch over the left field wall for a three-run homer, his first, giving Memphis a 5-0 lead.
The Memphis lead grew to 7-0 in the third when Chad Huffman hit his first of two home runs on the day, a two-run blast to left. Raley (8-10) would leave one batter later with what appeared to be an unspecified injury to his pitching hand.
Iowa would cut the lead to 7-2 in the fifth when Dave Sappelt and Edgar Gonzalez both walked with the bases loaded.
Down 8-2 in the seventh, Sappelt cut the lead to 8-4 with a two-run home run to left field but that was as close as Iowa would get.
Sappelt finished 2-for-4 with a home run and 3 RBI. Greg Rohan had his first two hits of the season for Iowa in the loss.
Needing a sweep to realistically remain in playoff contention, Iowa opens a four game series with first place Omaha on Monday at Principal Park.