DES MOINES, Iowa – After giving up three runs in the bottom of the first inning, the first-place Memphis Redbirds (52-32) shut down the Iowa Cubs (Cubs) and won their fourth game in the five-game series Monday night in Des Moines, Iowa, 7-3.
Chris Ellis gave up three runs in the bottom of the first inning after Memphis led 2-0 after a half-inning, but he, Landon Beck, Tommy Layne, and Edward Mujica pitched 8.0 shutout innings to secure the victory.
Patrick Wisdom opened the scoring in the top of the first with a two-run double, before Iowa scored three times in the home-half.
As the Memphis staff started putting up zeros, the Redbirds scored twice in the sixth inning without a hit to take a 4-3 lead. Oscar Mercado and Alex Mejia walked, and both moved up 90 feet on a double steal. Mercado crossed the plate on a wild pitch, and Mejia scored on a Paul DeJong sacrifice fly after Max Schrock was hit by a pitch.
The 4-3 Memphis lead remained until the top of the ninth, when Edmundo Sosa provided some breathing room with a pinch-hit, three-run double to increase the lead to 7-3.
Mujica gave up two hits in the bottom of the ninth but finished the game and set the Redbirds up for a potential five-game sweep.
Mercado’s 20 steals this season are the most by a Redbird since Tommy Pham in 2014 and are tied for seventh-most in a season in Redbirds history.
A day after going 5-for-6 and hitting for the cycle, and then providing a pinch-hit RBI double, Luke Voit was 3-for-3 with two walks Monday night. Schrock was 2-for-3 before being lifted as part of a double-switch.
Carson Kelly had a pick-off at second base.
The Redbirds and Cubs finish their five-game series, and Memphis’ nine-game road trip, before Memphis returns to AutoZone Park on Wednesday for the 4th of July Celebration, presented by AutoZone. For more information on the 4th of July Celebration, visit www.memphisredbirds.com/4thofJuly. For more information on single-game tickets and ticket mini-memberships, visit www.memphisredbirds.com.