Des Moines, IA – Renato Nunez clubbed a go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning to lead the Nashville Sounds to a 7-5 win over the Iowa Cubs Thursday afternoon at Principal Park.
The home run by Nunez was his Minor League Baseball-leading 25th of the season and snapped a 5-5 deadlock in the series finale.
It was the second consecutive day the Sounds beat Iowa after trailing for most of the game. The Cubs scored four runs in the second inning to jump out to a 4-0 lead. Nashville closed the gap to 4-3 in the middle innings before Iowa got another run in the fifth to make it a 5-3 game.
Reliever Josh Smith played a huge part in the come-from-behind win. The right-hander took over for Jesse Hahn in the sixth inning and threw four scoreless frames to pick up his fourth win of the season. Smith allowed one hit and struck out four.
Bijan Rademacher’s three-run homer off Hahn gave Iowa a comfortable 4-0 lead in the second. Nashville chipped away with single runs in third through sixth innings to draw close.
Franklin Barreto launched a solo homer in the third, Matt McBride drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth, Nunez singled home a run in the fifth, and Kenny Wilson’s sacrifice fly scored a run in the sixth.
Cubs’ reliever Felix Pena put up a zero in the seventh to protect Iowa’s 5-4 lead, but coughed it up in the eighth thanks to the sun.
Mark Canha hit a fly ball towards Iowa center fielder Jacob Hanneman to start the eighth. Hannemann lost the ball in the sun allowing Canha to scamper to third with a leadoff triple. Yairo Munoz followed with a run-scoring double down the left field line to make it 5-5. The RBI double capped a perfect 4-for-4 game for Munoz who’s hitting .347 in the month of July.
After Smith fired a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth, the stage was set for Nunez who belted the two-run homer after Joey Wendle singled with one out. Smith came back out for the ninth and set the side down in order to help the Sounds earn a series split.
Wendle went 3-for-5 and extended his hitting streak to a career-best 12 games.
The Sounds open a four-game series in New Orleans Friday night. Right-hander Chris Jensen (4-1, 4.42) starts for the Sounds against right-hander William Cuevas (1-2, 3.04) for the Baby Cakes. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00pm.
The 2017 season is the Sounds’ 40th in franchise history and their third as the Oakland Athletics’ top affiliate. Single-game tickets are available now by calling 615.690.4487 or by visiting www.nashvillesounds.com