Yoanner Negrin allowed one run in five innings, and two Iowa relievers shut out New Orleans the rest of the way for a 2-1 win, as the Cubs completed a doubleheader sweep against New Orleans on Wednesday night at Zephyr Field.
Left-hander Eric Jokisch (7-6) shut out the Zephyrs (56-56) 9-0 in a seven-inning complete game in the first game as Iowa ended a season-high six-game losing streak and took a two games to one lead in the series.
The Cubs (59-54) scored four runs in the third inning and four in the fourth with the aid of three Zephyrs errors, two by starting pitcher Brian Flynn (7-8), in the first game.
In the second game, Iowa gained a 2-0 lead by the fourth inning against Brad Penny (1-2) and held on behind its relievers. Jorge Soler hit a one-out double in the second inning and scored on Mike Olt’s two-out single to center field. In the fourth, Rafael Lopez singled in Kris Bryant from second with one out.
The Z’s came to one run of the lead in the bottom of the inning on Kyle Skipworth’s two-out single to right that plated Zack Cox.
WHAT: Iowa Cubs at New Orleans Zephyrs
WHERE: Zephyr Field, Metairie
WHEN: 7 p.m.
PROBABLE PITCHERS: Zephyrs right-hander Elih Villanueva (9-6, 3.74 ERA) vs. Cubs TBA
RADIO: WMTI-FM, 106.1
Chris Rusin’s record certainly is not impressive, and his fastball is only about 88 to 90 miles per hour. But he’s been good enough for Chicago to recall him Wednesday to pitch middle relief.
Many of the 10,770 fans who were at Zephyr Field on May 7 likely remember him. He pitched the first no-hitter by a Zephyrs opponent in the 18-year history of the stadium, beating the Z’s 3-0. It was only the second no-hitter period at Zephyr Field, period. Brian Powell no-hit Omaha on May 6, 2001.
Rusin befuddled the Z’s with his sinker, changing speeds and locations in a dizzying array. He struck out just three and walked two. However, he induced 16 groundouts, three resulting in double plays. The Zephyrs hit just six harmless fly balls.
“I just pounded the strike zone with my two-seamer, and I was going to throw it until they adjusted,” Rusin said.
Rusin, 26 and in his fourth year with Iowa, is considered by Baseball America to have the best command and best change-up in the Chicago Cubs’ system. He hits the lower part of the strike zone consistently and usually gets ahead of hitters in the count.
Last season, when he was considered Chicago’s sixth starter, he started 13 games for the big-league club and went 2-6 with a 3.93 ERA. This season, he made just two appearances with Chicago (0-0, 6.23) before Wednesday’s call-up.
Zephyrs manager Andy Haines will manage the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League for its upcoming season. The Rafters comprise players from the Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Rockies, Rays and Blue Jays organizations. … Before Ed Lucas was called back up to the Miami Marlins on Tuesday, he left one impression with the Zephyrs. With Iowa leading 1-0 in the top of the sixth and runners on first and second with two outs, Matt Szczur hit the ball hard up the middle. Lucas made a diving stab. With second base behind him, adjusting and throwing the ball across his body may have taken too long to get the runner at second. So Lucas threw the ball behind his back to shortstop Juan Diaz covering the bag for the final out.