Eric Patterson, Scott Moore and Buck Coats each had three hits on the night, as Iowa (13-15, 2.5 GB) jumped out to an 8-1 lead against New Orleans and held on behind starting pitcher Ryan O’Malley.
Patterson, who entered the night batting .240 in 24 games, highlighted his three-hit performance with a two-run homer in the fourth inning off New Orleans starter Clint Nageotte. The Cubs’ top second base prospect turned on the first pitch he saw with two away in the inning to send his second homer of the season into the pool beyond the right field wall.
He singled twice and also walked in the game.
“The past couple of days, I’ve been trying to hammer out some timing issues (with my swing),” Patterson said after the game.
“I felt I was getting closer, which isn’t to say that I’m there right now, but it’s good to get some positive feedback.”
For his part, Moore keyed an RBI single to center in his first at-bat and doubled to the gap in left-center his next time up to lead off the fourth. He later scored on an RBI sacrifice fly by Chris Walker.
“It felt good to put some runs on the board tonight,” said Moore, whose three hits were a season-high after entering the game with a .206 average.
“My at-bats felt better tonight than they have all season. I felt like I was getting my foot (planted). It was a good night.”
Iowa entered the night batting .248 as a team, which placed second to last in the Pacific Coast League.
“We’ll have a lot of guys go home and sleep well tonight,” said Iowa manager Buddy Bailey, in his first season as the Cubs’ Triple-A skipper. “The top of the order was obviously big, but to me the big part in the game was O’Malley getting two sacrifice bunts down. That helped us get three runs.”
O’Malley (1-2), making his sixth start of the season, overcame a rocky fourth inning to pitch six innings for his first win of the season. He surrendered six runs (three earned) on seven hits. The left-hander walked three.
After Angel Pagan drew a walk to start the Iowa third, O’Malley used the first of his two sac bunts to move the Cubs’ center fielder into scoring position as part of a four-run third inning that was highlighted by Koyie Hill’s two-run double to right-center.
O’Malley repeated the at-bat an inning later, advancing both Pagan and Moore into scoring position with one away. The southpaw also added a two-out single through the hole at short in his final at-bat of the night.
“He really helped himself,” Bailey said afterward. “It ain’t always the hitting that makes the difference. You have to do some of the little things and in those innings that we asked him, he did that.”
Nageotte (1-1) took the loss, yielding eight earned runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. He walked two. Iowa right-hander Carlos Marmol is expected to start Game 2 of the series beginning Saturday at 7 p.m.
FOOTNOTE ... In the second game of Iowa’s Wednesday doubleheader against Nashville, Cubs reliever Randy Wells allowed a home run to Milwaukee Brewers prospect Ryan Braun and was then ejected after plunking Sounds outfielder Vinny Rottino with a pitch in the seventh inning that prompted both benches to empty.
On Friday, Wells received a $500 fine and a three-game suspension for the incident.