Mario Mercedes tripled in the game-winning run in the sixth inning to lift Iowa to a 2-1 victory over Omaha Sunday night in the middle of a three-game series at Principal Park. The Storm Chasers fell to 79-62 and will have one last chance to win 80-or-more games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in franchise history.
D.J. LeMahieu’s run-scoring single in the first inning put the Cubs in front before Jarrod Dyson’s RBI double in third evened the count. From there, the Chasers were clamped down by Chris Rusin, Andrew Cashner, Chris Carpenter and Scott Maine, who held them scoreless on six hits over the final six innings.
Omaha starter Vin Mazzaro was lifted after two frames to prepare for his upcoming playoff turn on Thursday and was followed to the hill by Mike Montgomery, who kept the hosts blanked for three innings before they struck to produce what turned out to be the decisive marker.
Marquez Smith doubled with one and scored when Mercedes followed with his three-base hit down the left field line. Montgomery was able to avoid further damage by striking out Brett Jackson and getting Marwin Gonzalez to ground out on a diving stop by third baseman Joaquin Arias.
The visitors loaded the bases with one out in the fifth against Rusin but the rally ended when Clint Robinson bounced into a double play. They then put two runners on with nobody out in the ninth before Maine struck out Manny Pina and Kurt Mertins and induced Dyson to ground into a force play at second base to end the game.