Shortstop Peter Mooney went 2 for 4 with a two-run home run in the fifth inning that provided the margin of victory Sunday in the New Orleans Baby Cakes 7-6 win over the Iowa Cubs.
New Orleans (57-61) won the series three games to one, giving it back-to-back series wins for the first time since May 7. The Baby Cakes have won seven of their past eight games heading into a seven-game road trip that starts Monday at American South Division leader Memphis.
Mooney's homer gave New Orleans a 7-4 lead. In Saturday's 9-2 win, he went 2 for 4 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs.
“(Sunday's homer) gave our pitchers some insurance, because you never know what's going to happen,” Mooney said. “I keep putting good swings on the ball, and good things happen. This team is hot; we're hot Cakes, hitting the ball, having fun.”
Although Iowa (43-75) has the worst record in the Pacific Coast League, the Cubs came into the series 9-3 against New Orleans.
“We'd played a lot of the games up there (Des Moines), and we had leads but didn't get them out late in the game,” manager Arnie Beyeler said. “In this series, we pitched well, we came back from deficits and were able to finish the games. We've competed well against the best teams, but Iowa had given us the most trouble.”
When Braxton Lee was transferred from the Baby Cakes to Double-A Jacksonville, it appeared he wouldn't be back this season.
Lee, an outfielder, had hit .202 in two stints spanning 25 games with New Orleans, and the team was awash in outfielders — Magneuris Sierra, Isaac Galloway, Austin Dean and Rafael Ortega — all of whom were batting much better and, for the most part, were good in the field.
However, Sierra, Galloway and Ortega have been called up to the Miami Marlins. Lee, although batting just .224 with Jacksonville, was promoted back to New Orleans.
“I wasn't surprised,” Galloway said. “I knew when Ortega was going to go up (Friday), I was the highest guy in the (organization's) pecking order. I knew I was kind of going to go up, and I didn't play that day, so …”
Lee had a good first day back in Saturday's 9-2 romp against Iowa. Batting in the leadoff spot, he went 3 for 5 with an RBI and a run. The performance brought a smile to Lee and a bit of relief and some humor.
“I was focused, knowing I was coming up here again,” he said. “I was like, 'OK, let's try to start all over again. Let's make this a new beginning.' I had that one pop fly (to shallow left field) that should have been caught, though, and it was a hit.”
Lee was the Southern League batting champion with a .309 average last season with Montgomery and Jacksonville. When things didn't go well with the Cakes, he said he put more pressure on himself.
“I missed a month and a half with a hamstring injury, then I was playing one day on, one day off,” he said. “I'd just won the batting title. I'm supposed to do this, and then I'm not doing it. I was like, 'How do I go to the top to all the way to the bottom?' ”
Although his average was not stellar with Jacksonville, Lee said he feels confident. Known for being leery about changing the mechanics that have made him a good hitter, he said he adjusted his stance a little and tried to recognize pitches better. Mainly, he said, playing every day has him feeling like he's in a better rhythm.
“I know the average is not there, but if I can continue to have good swings, that would be good,” he said. “There's just a little bit of the season left, so if I can finish at .250, I'd feel good about that going into next year.”
Reliever Odrisamer Despaigne relieved starter Tyler Cloyd to start the sixth inning with a 7-4 lead and appeared on his way to New Orleans' first four-inning save since 2002. However, Iowa right fielder Mark Zagunis lined a shot that appeared to hit Despaigne in the face. He blocked the ball with his right hand but had to come out of the game. After the game, he said his hand was not broken and that he would be OK. … Cloyd gave up a first-inning home run (Jason Vosler, two-run, one-out) for the second consecutive time by a Cakes starter. Saturday's winner, Jeff Brigham allowed one (Chris Coghlan) on the first pitch Saturday. Cloyd gave up three home runs Sunday but just four runs. … Beyeler said he was hopeful against Memphis, which has had four of its starting pitchers called up to St. Louis.