Nate Spears hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot that made a splash in the pool beyond the right field wall off New Orleans starter Hayden Penn in the fourth inning to jumpstart the Cubs’ rally, and Iowa (43-39) scored in five of their last six innings to win going away.
“I was just looking for a good pitch to hit and I got it and made a good swing,” Spears said. “Overall, it was a great win after a long travel day.”
Iowa tallied 12 hits and made a winner of right-hander Esmailin Caridad, who overcame a slow start to snap a string of eight consecutive losing decisions. He picked up his first win since April 26, allowing four runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings.
“The guys didn’t quit tonight,” Iowa manager Bobby Dickerson said. “Tonight we didn’t stop. We had a couple of hit-and-run’s that worked out for us, got the big home run from Spears. We got ahead of them and got the bats started against their bullpen.”
Caridad (4-9) fell behind early after allowing two home runs—the first a three-run shot to Zephyrs left fielder Michael Ryan in the first inning.
Two innings later, New Orleans third baseman Gaby Sanchez connected on a two-seam fastball down in the zone to give New Orleans a 4-0 lead. The two home runs were Caridad’s 10th and 11th allowed this season, respectively.
Caridad settled down afterward, retiring 12 of the next 14 batters he saw.
“He went out there and I’m not sure if it was the heat or what, but he had kind of a laid-back approach to start the game,” Dickerson said. “He walked two guys and then gave up the home run. He didn’t have too many hits against him, but it was still four runs. He was able to hold them. (Iowa pitching coach Mike) Mason talked to him pretty sternly at some point and he was able to hold them and go deeper.”
Iowa’s bullpen then slammed the door.
Jeff Stevens earned his 12th hold, tossing an inning and two-thirds scoreless ball. He stranded one runner and used an effective slider to notch a pair of strikeouts.
Blake Parker picked up his ninth save in relief with a scoreless ninth inning. Parker started the inning with a fastball behind the head of Zephyrs second baseman Dave Matranga, and that prompted a visit from Dickerson.
“He had a little incident at our place where he hit three of their batters, lost his command and got himself into a little trouble,” Dickerson explained. “I just went out there to make a little joke and try to loosen him up.”
Spears and Darwin Barney had two hits apiece for Iowa with Barney collecting his first extra-base hit — a one-out double off the top of the wall in left — since being promoted to Iowa from Class AA Tennessee. He came in to score after a balk from Zephyrs reliever Brett Sinkbeil, giving Iowa a 6-4 lead.
TENNESSEE 7, CAROLINA 4 (CLASS AA)
At Zebulon, N.C., the Smokies (39-44 overall, 7-6 second half) collected 12 hits in the victory Saturday. 3B Marquez Smith (3-for-4) led the team in hits and collected two doubles. LF Ty Wright (2-for-4) added two doubles and three RBI. RHP Andrew Cashner made his Double-A debut and pitched five innings, allowing one run and three hits. He struck out six batters and did not issue a walk. He threw 77 pitches, 51 strikes. RHP Jake Muyco (3-3) picked up the win in relief, allowing one run and five hits in 2 1/3 innings.
DAYTONA 4, BREVARD COUNTY 1 (CLASS HIGH-A)
At Viera, Fla., the Cubs (39-38, 5-5) collected 10 hits in the victory Saturday. CF Tony Campana (3-for-4, walk) led the team in hits atop the order. SS Starlin Castro (2-for-4, double) and RF Brandon Guyer (2-for-5, RBI, stolen base) added two hits. RHP Dan McDaniel (5-5) started and earned the win, allowing one run and four hits over five innings. He struck out seven batters and walked two.
BELOIT 4, PEORIA 1 (CLASS-A)
At Peoria, the Chiefs (41-37, 3-6) collected eight hits in the loss Saturday. SS Junior Lake (2-for-4) led the team in hits. He has struck out in 21 straight starts. Aramis Ramirez was 1-for-2 with the team’s only RBI in his second rehab start, and Reed Johnson walked in his only plate appearance. RHP Aaron Shafer (5-5) suffered the loss, allowing four runs (one earned) and six hits in four innings.
EUGENE 8, BOISE 0 (CLASS LOW-A)
At Boise, the Hawks (3-12) were held to five hits in the loss Saturday. CF Brett Jackson (1-for-4) made his Boise debut after going 5-for-11 with three walks in three games in the Arizona Rookie League. LHP Jeff Antigua started and tossed five scoreless innings, allowing one hit and two walks. He struck out four. RHP Josh Whitlock (0-2) suffered the loss in relief, allowing eight runs in 1 1/3 innings.
CUBS 7, RANGERS 5 (ARIZONA ROOKIE LEAGUE)
At Surprise, Ariz., the Cubs (7-5) collected 12 hits in the victory Saturday. DH Justin Bour (3-for-3, stolen base) collected three hits, including a grand slam. He reached base in all five plate appearances. 2B Blair Springfield (3-for-4) added three hits. RHP Jesse Ginley started and allowed one run and three hits in three innings. He struck out three. LHP John Mincone (2-0) picked up the win relief, allowing three runs and four hits in 3 1/3 innings.