Cubs 11, Zephyrs 2

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Cubs offense pounded out 12 hits and scored 11 runs to defeat the New Orleans Zephyrs 11-2. New Orleans feel 2½ games back of first-place Nashville as the team heads home for 21 of the next 26 games.

The Z’s scored first loading the bases in the second inning and scored one run on a Rob Brantly RBI single.

The Z’s had plenty of scoring opportunities, while leaving 14 men on base and out hit Iowa 14-12.

Iowa got four hits in the fourth inning and turned it into four runs. Javier Baez homered in the fifth inning and Josh Vitters belted a two run pinch-hit homer in the seventh.

Eric Jokisch (6-8) earned the win allowing two runs on 10 hits in 5.1 innings. Alex Sanabia (5-4) took the loss for the Zephyrs.

Friday’s game

WHAT: New Orleans Zephyrs vs. Omaha Storm Chasers

WHERE: Zephyr Field, Metairie

WHEN: 7 p.m.

PROBABLE PTICHERS: Zephyrs LH Brian Flynn (7-6, 3.92 ERA) vs. Omaha LH John Lamb (5-8, 3.68)

BROADCASTS: WMTI-FM, 106.1 FM; MiLB.tv

Prospect

Things keep getting better and better for Zephyrs reliever Edgar Olmos, a 6-foot-4 left-hander who came up from Jacksonville in late May.

On Tuesday, Olmos pitched a perfect eighth inning against the Iowa Cubs, continuing a stretch in which he has allowed two runs on six hits in the past 10.2innings, a 1.69 earned-run average, covering six appearances. In that span, he struck out eight and walked two.

That might not seem lights-out impressive. However, consider that Olmos started the season disastrously, allowing four runs on four hits in 2.1 innings on May 30. His ERA after that outing was 15.43.

Since then, he has allowed more than one run once. He gave up two on two hits, including the only home run off him this season, in 1.2 innings on June 28 at Nashville. Olmos lowered his ERA with every outing and is now at 3.29.

He has allowed 10 runs in 27.1 innings this season, but only six in 16 games since his first appearance, getting 19 strikeouts in his past 25 innings. Foes once batted .313 against him for the season, but he has lowered it to .208.

Extra bases

This series starts a stretch in which the Zephyrs will play a 13-game home stand, the longest in franchise history, and 21 of their next 26 games at home. After this four-game series, the Z’s will host the Iowa Cubs and former major leaguer Manny Ramirez for five games from July 29-Aug. 1, with a doubleheader on July 30. Next, there will be four games against division-leader Nashville, whom the Z’s trailed by 1½ games entering Thursday. … Since coming back from the All-Star break, the Zephyrs were 4-3 on their eight-game road trip. … Second baseman Ed Lucas and first baseman Justin Bour were optioned from the Miami Marlins to the Zephyrs and joined the team on Monday. They replace utility player Jordany Valdespin and pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, who were called up. It is Valdespin’s first time going to the big-league club since being signed as a free agent. Valdespin began as a second baseman with the Z’s, but has played center field and right field, as the Marlins prepared him for his utility role. He’d had multiple hits in five of his last nine games and led the Zephyrs in home runs in July, with five. Valdespin was batting .270, but in his past 10 games hit .325 (13-for-40) with three home runs, 11 runs and eight RBIs. The Marlins placed veteran infielder Rafael Furcal, who has had leg injuries, on the 60-day disabled list. Lucas gained his first big-league call up last season after 10 years in the minor leagues.

Darrell Williams