MEMPHIS, Tennessee – Daniel Ponce de Leon allowed just two singles in 7.0 shutout innings of work, and Rangel Ravelo and Harrison Bader each had two-run home runs as the Memphis Redbirds blanked the first-place Iowa Cubs (Cubs) in the series opener Thursday night at AutoZone Park, 5-0.
Ponce de Leon allowed a single to lead off the game and one leading off the third, but that was all Iowa (66-56) could muster against the right-hander. He retired nine of the last 10 hitters he faced and 13-of-15 overall, and he struck out nine and walked just two. He fired 68 of his 108 pitches for strikes.
The reigning Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week has worked 18.0 shutout innings in his last three starts for Memphis (56-66), and he has given up just four hits and struck out 28 while walking only five.
Ravelo and Bader went deep with two-run shots in the first and third innings, respectively, and the Redbirds’ other run in the game came in the sixth inning when Dylan Carlson doubled, went to third on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a sacrifice fly.
Carlson, the St. Louis Cardinals’ second-ranked prospect and No. 51 in all of Major League Baseball, made his Triple-A debut after arriving from Double-A Springfield earlier in the day.
Bader also drew two walks in the game, and Ravelo had a single to go along with his home run. Justin Williams also had a two-hit game for the Redbirds. Edmundo Sosawas 1-for-3, and he now has a hit in 18 of his last 19 games.
After Ponce de Leon finished his outing, Kodi Whitley worked a scoreless eighth inning and Mike Mayers fired a perfect ninth to seal the win.
The Redbirds have won five of their last six games.
Memphis and Iowa continue their series tomorrow night at 7:05. The Redbirds remain home through Sunday, Aug. 25, which concludes their regular-season home schedule.
Upcoming Games of Note at AutoZone Park
Friday, August 16 at 7:05: Sandlot Night with an appearance by Squints from the movie and a showing of the film after the game; All-You-Can-Eat Night specialty ticket presented by Dave & Buster’s featuring an all-you-can-eat beef sliders buffet and a free $15 Dave & Buster’s Power Card available at www.memphisredbirds.com/allyoucaneat; Specialty ticket that includes a St. Louis Cardinals golf umbrella available at www.memphisredbirds.com/cardinals
Saturday, August 17 at 6:35: Terminix Saturday Fireworks Show after the game; Aldo’s Pizza specialty ticket with free soda at the ballpark and free and discounted food and beverages at Aldo’s Pizza Pies available at www.memphisredbirds.com/aldos
Sunday, August 18 at 2:05: Prairie Farms Ice Cream Sunday (free ice cream for kids upon entering); pregame player autographs presented by Allegiant Air; kids run the bases after the game
Monday, August 19 at 6:35: the Redbirds take the field as the Memphis Música as part of Minor League Baseball’s “Copa de la Diversión” series with $3 tacos and $5 Dos Equis available at the stadium
For more information on the 2019 season, visit www.memphisredbirds.com.