DES MOINES, Iowa – The Memphis Redbirds scored 13 runs over their final three at-bats, highlighted by an eight-run rally in the ninth inning, to extend their franchise-record winning streak and stun the Iowa Cubs, 15-9, at Principal Park on Monday evening.
Memphis (21-11) has now won 11 games in a row, but needed its largest comeback of the season to keep the streak alive. The Redbirds trailed 8-2 after six innings and had just two hits to show against Iowa (13-17) starter Seth Frankoff. The comeback came alive, though, with a pitching change in the seventh.
Carson Kelly began the charge with a one-out RBI double in the seventh, cutting the deficit to 8-3. He would score two batters later on a pinch-hit RBI single from Breyvic Valera. Later in the frame,Nick Martini singled home Valera to cap off a three-run spurt and bring Memphis back to within 8-5.
Patrick Wisdom led off the eighth inning with a towering solo homer, his sixth of the year, and was followed by a double from Harrison Bader. Kelly came through again with an RBI single to draw Memphis to within a run at 8-7. The Redbirds were unable to get closer and saw the lead grow back to two in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI triple from Jeimer Candelario.
Down 9-7 entering the ninth, Memphis promptly loaded the bases without putting the ball in play thanks to back-to-back hit by pitches and a walk. Wisdom then battled to a full count against Iowa reliever David Rollins before blasting an opposite-field grand slam, vaulting the ‘Birds in front, 11-9. The shot was Wisdom’s second of the game, seventh of the year, and the first grand slam for Memphis since Kolten Wong’s walk-off on June 9, 2016.
The inning was far from done, though, as the first seven Redbirds reached, culminating in a two-run double from Kelly to push the advantage to 13-9. After a pair of groundouts, Todd Cunningham, who started the inning by reaching on a hit by pitch, belted a two-run homer to right-center to cap off the eight-run outburst.
The eight-run frame was Memphis’ largest of the season and the 15 total runs marked a new season-high as well. Cunningham (3-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), Martini (2-for-5, 3B, R, RBI), Wisdom (2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI), Bader (3-for-5, 2 2B, 3 R), Paul DeJong (2-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), and Kelly (3-for-5, 2 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI) all collected multiple hits as part of the 16-hit attack.
DeJong had accounted for the two earlier runs with a two-run homer in the second inning. Iowa, though, had responded with four in the third and four more in the sixth to build its 8-2 advantage.
Josh Lucas earned the win in relief by tossing the last two innings. He allowed a run on two hits and struck out a pair to improve to 3-0. Josh Zeid earned a no-decision for the Redbirds after yielding seven runs on 10 hits in 5.1 innings.
Memphis wraps up its eight-game road trip, and four-game series with Iowa, on Tuesday at 12:08 p.m. (CT).
Next Games at AutoZone Park
The upcoming homestand (May 11-18) includes:
Thursday, May 11 (7:05 p.m.): All-You-Can-Eat Thursday specialty ticket, featuring burgers, plus Thirsty Thursday with select $2 beers, and College Night with $5 Left Field TruGreen Bluff tickets for college students
Friday, May 12 (7:05 p.m.): Armed Forces Night featuring the U.S. Navy Parachute Team, plus a Friday Night Block Party featuring a band and $2 beers in the Plaza before the game
Saturday, May 13 (6:35 p.m.): Game Night, plus postgame fireworks, and a Saturday Night Party in the Plaza featuring a band and $2 beers before the game
Sunday, May 14 (2:05 p.m.): Mother's Day at the ballpark with a brunch and catch on the field specialty ticket option, plus Prairie Farms Ice Cream Sunday for kids 12 and under and moms, and kids and moms run the bases after the game
Monday, May 15 (6:35 p.m.)
Tuesday, May 16 (11:05 a.m.): Education Day with a special game time of 11:05 a.m., plus King Cotton $1 Hot Dog Day
Wednesday, May 17 (11:05 a.m.): Education Day with a special game time of 11:05 a.m.
Thursday, May 18 (7:05 p.m.): All-You-Can-Eat Thursday specialty ticket, featuring tacos, plus Thirsty Thursday with select $2 beers, and College Night with $5 Left Field TruGreen Bluff tickets for college students