Chris Rusin provided another quality start and Javier Baez blasted his eighth home run of the season, leading the Iowa Cubs (31-27) to a slim 2-1 victory over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (26-34) in a snappy 2 hours, 24 minutes on Friday night at Principal Park before a season-high crowd of 11,087.
In three career starts against the Sky Sox, Rusin (4-7) was 2-0 with a miniscule 0.90 ERA. Rusin dominated again on Friday, allowing the only one run to score over eight innings. Ben Paulsen’s home run (11) in the second gave the Sky Sox a 1-0 lead.
Arismendy Alcantara led off the third with an infield single for Iowa. Baez followed by mashing an 0-1 pitch by Colorado Springs starter Tyler Matzek (5-4) over the right field wall for his eighth home run of the season, giving Iowa a 2-1 lead.
The defense came up big for Iowa in the fifth. With Jackson Williams on first base, Drew Garcia doubled to left. Josh Vitters made a strong relay throw to Baez who cut down Jackson at home plate when Luis Flores applied the tag, ending the inning and keeping the score 2-1.
Rusin allowed only one run on six hits while walking none and striking out two before giving way to Blake Parker to pitch the ninth. Parker gave up a hit and walk in the ninth but struck out the final two Sky Sox batters, both looking, to end the game. Parker now has 12 saves on the season and is tied for the league lead.
Alcantara had two hits for Iowa and Baez went 2-for-4 with a home run, 2 RBI and a double which narrowly missed being his second home run of the game.
Game three of the series is Saturday night at Principal Park.