Familiar Territory

METAIRIE, La. – Iowa manager Mike Quade is getting accustomed to a few things in his fourth season as Triple-A skipper, not the least of which are good pitching and tight ball games.  &nbsp  &nbsp  &nbsp  &nbsp  &nbsp  &nbsp  &nbsp  &nbsp

Iowa survived another one-run game on Wednesday night at Zephyr Field against New Orleans, rallying for a 2-1 win in the game's final two innings.

The Cubs got another pitching gem assembled from their staff throughout the night, starting with Glendon Rusch (with the team on a rehab assignment) and ending with David Aardsma (2-1) getting his second win of the season in relief.

Sandwiched in between were three shutout innings from Les Walrond, who was much improved from the 13 runs he gave up the last time he faced New Orleans.

Iowa played their 32nd one-run game of the season and on yet another night, pitching dominated amongst the Cubs and their opposition. Iowa held the Z's to just three hits and were held scoreless through the first seven frames.

"I don't know if it's getting predictable, but we're certainly familiar with this by now," Quade said following Wednesday's victory. "Hopefully the kids will start to swing the bats a little better and give us some breathing room, but in the meantime, we're doing some of the things we need to do."

Things like pitching, pitching, and more pitching.

Iowa's staff has a combined 3.67 ERA, which ranks third among the 16 teams in the PCL. They also have the league's hottest starter in left-hander Rich Hill, who along with teammate Kerry Ligtenberg were nominated to this year's Triple-A All-Star Game in Toledo, Ohio (July 12).

Quade acknowledges the team's standout pitching all season and gives credit where credit is due.

"They're keeping us in every game," he said. "We're pitching better than we did last year and the thing I'm most happy with is that the entire pitching staff is contributing: all five starters and all the relievers, too.

"If you're going to have a good staff, it's not about two or three guys carrying you; it's about everyone pulling their weight."

As for the Iowa offense, Cub bats mustered seven hits and both of their runs in back-to-back innings. Down 1-0 entering the eighth, the Cubs loaded the bases on three straight hits. Ryan Theriot then singled through the hole at short to tie the game.

One inning later, Buck Coats' unexciting but doable RBI groundout with the bases loaded gave Iowa the only lead they would need. The Cubs had again loaded the bases after Zephyrs OF Ryan Church committed the second of two fielding errors on routine fly balls.

With the win, the Cubs (37-41) remain within striking distance of first place Nashville at five games out.

"Long way to go," Quade said. "Long way to go."

Game Notes

  • OF Angel Pagan was scheduled to have Wednesday off and start Thursday, but was in the starting lineup. He finished 1-for-4 with a first-inning double.

  • OF Felix Pie continued his recent slide, going 0-for-4 and lowering his season average to .250 -- its lowest mark of the year. He is 0-for-9 with four strikeouts in the series and started Wednesday in right with Pagan in center.

  • INF Mike Fontenot did not start, but recorded a pinch-hit single and a walk. He has hit safely in eight straight games, in which he is 14 for 24.

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