Iowa Cubs pick up third-straight win behind Kris Bryant


Thanks to the offensive exploits of third baseman Kris Bryant and catcher Rafael Lopez, the Iowa Cubs ran off their third-consecutive win on Monday, taking down the New Orleans Zephyrs by a 4-1 final on the road.

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Iowa (3-2) broke the 1-1 tie in the top of the sixth against New Orleans’ reliever Vin Mazzaro, who opened the frame by allowing a leadoff single to Cubs outfielder Junior Lake. After a groundout that advanced him to second, Lake took third and came around to score on a throwing error by Zephyrs catcher Jhonatan Solano.

Lopez followed with a double and after a walk to Mike Baxter, Mazzaro’s outing drew to a close. Salvador Sanchez came in to face Gonzalez Germen, who advanced both runners and reached himself on a fielder’s choice back to the pitcher.

Adron Chambers drew a one-out walk to force in Iowa’s second run of the inning and a sacrifice fly off the bat of shortstop Addison Russell made it a 4-1 Cubs’ lead – which is where things wound up.

Iowa starter Yoanner Negrin was lights-out in his first start of the year, allowing just the lone run  in 4 2/3 innings of work, striking out five and walking none. Germen, recently re-acquired James Russell and Joe Ortiz followed the righty with 4 1/3 scoreless frames in which they allowed just one measly base hit.

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Bryant, meanwhile, went 3-for-5 on the night for Iowa with a trio of singles, while Lopez raised his average on the young season to a robust .364 with a 2-for-4 night to go along with a pair of runs. Lake and Baxter also added a pair of base hits in the win.

What Stood Out:

The work of the Iowa bullpen stood out on Monday night – namely that of former Cubs’ left-hander James Russell, who tossed a pair of scoreless innings against New Orleans. With Phil Coke as the only notable left-hander in the Chicago bullpen, if Russell can perform consistently well, he may find himself in the Windy City sooner rather than later.

What’s Next:

Iowa (3-2) and New Orleans (1-4) continue their series on Tuesday at Zephyr Field. UPDATE: Tuesday’s contest was rained out and the two teams will play a double-header on Thursday  in New Orleans

Next: Iowa Cubs hold preseason open house event