The Iowa Cubs (47-65) fell to the New Orleans Zephyrs (51-58) 9-4, Wednesday night at Principal Park after the Zephyrs tallied nine two-out runs during the game. Iowa holds a 1-13-3 series record when dropping the first game of the set this season.
Isaac Galloway sparked the New Orleans bats in the top of the second with a two-out single to left field. Francisco Arcia and Jose Urena followed with back-to-back base hits, putting the Zephyrs on the board off a soft liner to right field by Urena.
Drew Rucinski (5-12) took the mound for Iowa in his 22nd start of the season. He gave the I-Cubs six innings of work, allowing five runs on 11 hits while sitting down four New Orleans batters on strikes. Rucinski was tagged with his league-leading 12th loss of the season.
The Zephyrs extended their lead in the fourth as Cole Figueroa led off the inning with a double to the warning track in right-center field. Urena advanced him to third with a bunt-single followed by a single to center off the bat of Cole Gillespie that pushed Figueroa across the plate, giving New Orleans a 2-0 lead.
The New Orleans hit brigade continued in the fifth as Galloway and Arcia nabbed back-to-back RBI-doubles to put three more runs on the board for the Zephyrs. Four New Orleans players tallied multi-hit games, Galloway and Arcia included after each went 2-for-3.
The Iowa bats came alive in the bottom of the sixth when Logan Watkins ignited the offense with a triple to deep right-center. Albert Almora Jr. drove him in with a groundout to third for the I-Cubs’ first run of the game.
Pierce Johnson entered in relief for the I-Cubs in the sixth and pitched two scoreless innings, striking out four and walking one while giving up no hits.
New Orleans broke the game wide open with a four-run eighth inning to make the score 9-1. Iowa responded in the bottom of the frame as a pair of singles and a RBI-double by Almora Jr. scored three for the I-Cubs. Almora Jr. extended his hit streak to nine games with his 24th multi-hit game of the season. The Zephyrs ended the night with 14 hits while limiting the I-Cubs’ offense to nine.
The I-Cubs and the Zephyrs face off in game two of the four-game set Thursday at Principal Park. First pitch is set for 7:08 p.m.