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).