The Oklahoma City RedHawks and Iowa Cubs played a day-night doubleheader Saturday with both games decided by one run. After a big comeback victory by Iowa in the first game, the RedHawks were able to edge the I-Cubs in the second game to earn the split at Principal Park.
Game 1: Iowa 6, RedHawks 5
Trailing 5-0 halfway through the game, the I-Cubs started their comeback in the bottom of the fourth inning. Manny Ramirez brought home the first run with on a fielder’s choice, and with two outs, Ryan Kalish connected on a three-run homer to pull the I-Cubs within one.
Still leading 5-4 in the top of the seventh, the RedHawks put two runners on with one out, but could not score, keeping their slim lead at one run.
Josh Vitters led off the bottom of the inning with a bloop single to left field. Kalish stepped up next and drilled a double to center field. The RedHawks executed a perfect relay to home plate, and pinch-runner Brett Jackson was out by a wide margin.
With Jonathan Mota at the plate, Kalish stole third base. Mota then followed with a RBI double off Jason Stoffel (2-3) to tie the game.
Kevin Chapman then came into the game and walked Lars Anderson. Eli Whiteside followed with a game-winning single to give Iowa the come-from-behind win.
The five-run margin was the largest lead the RedHawks had held in a loss this season. It also marked the fifth time in 13 road games the RedHawks had a lead in the seventh inning or later, only to lose. Until June 18 in Reno, they had never lost a game in which they led by at least three runs. Saturday was the fourth time it’s happened since them.
As they did Friday night, the RedHawks took an early 1-0 lead. Preston Tucker collected a RBI single with two outs to get the RedHawks on the board.
Jonathan Villar would follow with a walk to load the bases. Matt Duffy stepped up next and hit the ball well, but it resulted in a flyout right in front of the center field wall.
The RedHawks tacked on another run in the third inning. Tucker singled again, Kalish committed an error in the right field tying to field the ball. As a result of the miscue, Gregorio Petit was able to score all the way from first base, giving the RedHawks a 2-0 lead.
Three more scored in the fourth inning. Austin Wates drew a bases-loaded walk, and Ronny Torreyes and Petit each notched sacrifice flies to make it 5-0.
RedHawks starting pitcher Tommy Shirley had a good outing aside from one pitch. Shirley went six innings and allowed four runs and four hits, with two walks and two strikeouts. He induced 11 groundouts, including three double plays. In three of his six innings he retired the side on nine or fewer pitches.
Although Shirley’s performance was worthy of a win, the victory went to Iowa reliever Marcos Mateo. Mateo (1-0) threw three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit with six strikeouts.
Game 2: RedHawks 2, Iowa 1
After the disappointing turn of events in the first game, the RedHawks (49-49) were able to rebound and win game two, 2-1.
Rudy Owens set the tone on the mound, going 6.1 strong innings to earn his fifth win of the season. Owens (5-4) allowed six hits with three walks and tied a season high with seven strikeouts.
The RedHawks once again scored in the first inning. Austin Wates led off the game with a walk and stole second base. Wates would later score on a RBI single by Marc Krauss to make it 1-0.
The RedHawks added another run in the second inning. With runners at second and third, a passed ball by Iowa catcher Rafael Lopez allowed Joe Sclafani to score, putting Oklahoma City ahead by two.
Later in the inning, the RedHawks loaded the bases with one out. Ronny Torreyes sent a line drive that looked as if it was headed to left field for a base hit, but Iowa shortstop Chris Valaika made a leaping catch. Valaika then tossed to second base, completing an inning-ending double play.
Iowa (51-45) put runners at the corners with none out in the bottom of the inning. Owens then struck out both Jonathan Mota and Lars Anderson to get the first two outs before walking Brett Jackson to load the bases. Owens got out of the jam with a groundout by Matt Szczur.
Neither team had much going at the plate for most of the game until Iowa came up in the bottom of the seventh inning. The inning got off to a fluky start, and a rough break for the RedHawks played a role in another late Iowa comeback attempt.
On the first pitch of the inning, it appeared Anderson lined out to second base. However, first base umpire Nick Mahrley had called time right before the pitch came home, nullifying the pitch and out. Later in the at-bat, Anderson doubled to left field.
After Owens struck out Jackson, Jorge De Leon came in from the RedHawks bullpen. Szczur singled and then stole second base, putting the tying runs in scoring position with one out.
Logan Watkins followed with a RBI groundout, as the tying run moved to third with two outs. De Leon was able to get Valaika to ground out, as De Leon collected his first save with Oklahoma City this season.
Making a spot start for Iowa, Yoanner Negrin went a season high six innings and allowed two runs, but ended up with the loss. Negrin (0-2) allowed five hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
The RedHawks and I-Cubs finish play before the All-Star Break Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m.