Express take series opener against Cubs

A four-run fifth inning and a solid ninth-inning performance by Preston Claiborne led the Round Rock Express to a series-opening 7-6 win over the Iowa Cubs on Saturday in Des Moines.

Iowa took an early lead, and ended up leading by two runs twice, but the Express had four runs cross the plate in the fifth to take control.

Eddie Gamboa allowed four runs on seven hits and walked six in 6 1/3 innings to pick up the win. The knuckleballer also had two strikeouts in his first win of the year.

Ronald Guzman was 3 for 4 with a triple and two RBIs while Jared Hoying went 2 for 5 with two runs scored, a home run and an RBI.

Doug Bernier had two doubles on the night as he finished the game 2 for 5 with a run scored.

Jeimer Candelario had an RBI double in the first inning to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead before Mark Zagunis drove in another to double the lead.

Will Middlebrooks cut the lead in half with an RBI single to score Bernier in the top of the third. Brett Hayes tied the game with a sacrifice fly to score Travis Snider an inning later.

John Andreoli put the Cubs up 4-2 with a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth.

Guzman’s two-run triple highlighted a fifth inning in which Cesar Puello and Snider each drove in a run.

Hoying’s home run in the seventh made it 7-4 in favor of the Express.

Claiborne entered the game with the bases loaded in the ninth but was able to get the final out after two runs scored.

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