A pair of two-run home runs from catcher Mike Zunino helped propel the Tacoma Rainiers to an 8-7 victory over the Iowa Cubs on Sunday afternoon at Principal Park in Des Moines, Iowa.
Leonys Martin, Danny Muno and Zunino combined to go 7-for-15 with five runs scored, three homers, and seven RBIs for the Rainiers (27-15). Left fielder Dario Pizzano (3-for-4, run scored, double) and center fielder Zach Shank (2-for-4, two runs scored, double) also had multiple hits.
Five Rainiers pitchers checking in from the bullpen and combined to hold the Cubs (19-23) to one run on two hits over the final five innings of the afternoon. Nick Hagadone (2-1) earned the victory, while Ryne Harper locked down the final two outs of the contest for his third save of the season.
Tacoma starting pitcher Nathan Bannister, making his second career Triple-A start, allowed six runs on seven hits (three home runs) while walking two and striking out three.
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An RBI single off the bat of Muno and a two-run home run to deep left center field from Zunino in the top of the third inning helped the Rainiers erase an early deficit and tie the Cubs at 3-3. However, a pair of Iowa home runs from Mark Zagunis and Victor Caratini quickly pushed the home side back out in front, 6-3.
The Rainiers clawed their way back into a tie ballgame with runs in both the fifth and sixth innings — Muno laced a two-run home run to right in the fifth and right fielder Tyler O’Neill brought the score even at 6-6 with an RBI single into right in the sixth.
Zunino’s second long ball of the afternoon, a towering home run to left center field in the top of the seventh frame, pushed the Rainiers out in front 8-6 for their first lead of the game. Iowa cut into Tacoma’s newfound lead with a run in the bottom of the frame, making the score 8-7.
Tacoma’s bullpen held the Cubs off the scoreboard over the final two innings to secure the win and move the Rainiers back to 12 games over the .500 mark.
The Rainiers and Cubs wrap up their four-game series with another day game on Monday morning at 10:08 a.m. (PDT). Tacoma right-hander Chase De Jong (2-0, 1.74 ERA) will face off against Iowa righty Casey Kelly (1-0, 3.60).