Memphis, TN-The Memphis Redbirds opened their 2014 home slate with a 8-5 win over the Iowa Cubs in the first game of a four-game series on Friday night at AutoZone Park.
Memphis has taken four of the first five games from Iowa in the season series and improve to 6-3 on the year.
Cardinals top prospect Oscar Taveras went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, while Memphis native and former Mississippi State Bulldog Ed Easley (2-for-3, 3 RBIs) homered in his AutoZone Park debut. Outfielder Stephen Piscotty went hitless for the first time in 2014 to snap his season-opening and team-leading seven-game hit streak.
The Redbirds failed to score first for the first time in nine games as Iowa jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in the third inning thanks to RBI singles from Matt Szczur and Arismendy Alcantara.
Memphis rebounded for three runs in the bottom of the frame for a 3-2 advantage and led for the rest of the evening. With Jermaine Curtis and Greg Garcia aboard with two outs, outfielder Randal Grichuk lined a game-tying, two-run double off the center field wall. Taveras followed by looping a fly ball over the third baseman’s head to put the Redbirds in front.
After Xavier Scruggs led off the fourth with a single, Easley hit his two-run home run to left to extend the Memphis lead to 5-2. The long ball was the backstop’s first of the season.
Memphis scored its next run in the fifth, beginning with a leadoff double down the left field line by Greg Garcia. Taveras followed by lining an RBI single to right field.
Memphis tacked on two more runs with a Curtis sacrifice fly and Easley RBI single.
Chris Valaika hit a three run home run over the Redbirds bullpen to bring the Cubs within one run in the top of the sixth inning.
Tyler Lyons (1-0) gave up five runs on six hits in six innings, highlighted by the three-run home run. The left-hander also walked two and struck out eight to move to a lifetime 3-0 against the Cubs in five career starts since 2012.
Jose Almarante pitched two scoreless for Memphis before closer Eric Fornataro converted his first save with a shutout ninth.
Eric Jokisch (0-1) scattered eight hits for seven runs in five frames for the loss.