Memphis Redbirds Drop Game One to Iowa Cubs

With the PCL American North title on the line, the home Cubs took the first of the four-game set on Friday night.

DES MOINES - On what was an otherwise forgettable night for Brad Snyder, the Iowa outfielder saved his best for last with a colossal home run over the right field fence.


The seventh-inning moon shot off of Memphis reliever Matt Scherer put the Cubs ahead for good in a 4-2 victory in game one of a series at Principal Park that will likely decide the champion in the PCL American North Division.


"(Matt) made a little mistake there," said Memphis manager Chris Maloney, who turned to Scherer with two outs in the sixth after pulling starter Brandon Dickson. "He left it in a good spot for a lefty hitter, down and in. Snyder got a ball where he liked it and didn't miss it."


Snyder was on the verge of achieving the golden sombrero after striking out three times against Dickson. It was a good thing for him that the fourth at-bat came against someone else.


"I was looking pretty foolish the first three at-bats," said Snyder. "Dickson was getting me out with slider after slider. He's a good pitcher. It's great when you get a chance to redeem yourself like that in the fourth at-bat. I settled down a little bit and it was a new pitcher, new arm. I was happy to get one out of here."


In taking a one-game lead in the division with three games to play, Iowa rallied from a 2-1 deficit with runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. The Redbirds chased starting pitcher Chris Carpenter after pushing across a pair of runs in the top half of the sixth.


Memphis found itself on the wrong end of a comeback one day after rallying for a 3-2 victory over New Orleans in a regular season home finale.


Friday's tilt began as a pitcher's duel between Dickson, arguably Memphis' best starter this season, and Chris Carpenter, a Triple-A newcomer making just his third start for the Cubs.


Dickson surrendered base hits to Jim Adduci and Marquez Smith to open the game, before settling down to strike out Brad Snyder. Jason Dubois followed up by lining a single to left-field to plate Adduci for the game's first run. Dickson responded with poise by inducing a Bryan Lahair groundball double-play to get out of trouble.


Sporting an ERA of 7.00 in his brief Triple-A career, Iowa's Carpenter came out of the gates looking like his St. Louis namesake. The right-hander did not allow a ball out of the infield until a ground ball skated past Matt Camp with one out in the second inning.


Amaury Cazana followed up with an infield hit that Carpenter fielded and nearly threw into right field. Iowa's pitcher then walked Ruben Gotay to load the bases with none out. But thanks to a weak Tony Cruz grounder, Carpenter avoided disaster with a 1-2-3 double play.


Memphis' starter maneuvered in and out of trouble again in the second inning, allowing hits to Bobby Scales and Camp to put runners on first and third with one out. He recovered to strike out Carpenter and force a weak fly ball to left from Adduci to end the inning.


Dickson's first clean inning didn't come until the fourth, when he retired the bottom third of Iowa's order in succession.


The third time was a charm for Carpenter, who had gone just nine innings combined in his first two Triple-A starts. The 6-foot-4 right-hander, who had surrendered 22 base runners in those nine innings of work, allowed just four Memphis hitters on base – a pair of singles and two walks – through five innings of work Friday.


Memphis finally broke through against Carpenter in the top of the 6th. Tyler Greene walked on four pitches to lead off the inning. Two batters later, Allen Craig drove a triple off the top of the wall in the left-field power alley to score Greene. Mark Hamilton's sacrifice fly with two outs gave Memphis its first lead, 2-1.


"We got a runner on there, Craig got a ball up in the air and almost hit it out," Maloney said. "Then Hamilton hit a shot to right field and the guy made a great play on it, so we just got a sacrifice fly and one more run out of it."


While it took the Redbirds two times through the order to figure out Carpenter, Dickson seemed to settle down as his pitch count got higher. He struck out the side in the fifth, retiring the top-third of the Cubs lineup and getting right fielder Brad Snyder out on strikes for the third time.


But Dickson's improved control deserted him with two outs in the bottom of the 6th. He walked Matt Camp and Ty Wright back to back after being ahead in the count 0-and-2. The second free trip forced in Bobby Scales, who reached on a walk.


That would be the end of the night for Dickson, who came out in favor of Matt Scherer. The right-handed reliever proceeded to fall behind 3-0 to Adduci before striking him out and stranding three Cubs on base.


Dickson finished with a no-decision after allowing two runs on seven hits and struck out seven over 5 2/3 innings.


Both teams are back at Principal Park on Saturday for a 7:05 matchup between a pair of right-handers. Memphis' Lance Lynn (13-9, 4.64) will oppose Iowa's Mitch Atkins (7-3, 3.67).



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