Cubs Minor League News: Canario returns, PCA raking, Steven homers, more
Canario is back from his injury

Cubs Minor League News: Canario returns, PCA raking, Steven homers, more

by - Senior Writer -

For the first time in five days, there was a full slate of minor league games going as the full season teams returned to the diamond for the first time since Sunday. With the all-star break officially over and the stretch run about to begin, all four teams have a shot at making the postseason, although one of those four teams has already cliched.

It has been a long time since the Cubs can say they posted a winning mark with all seven teams, but that is exactly what happened on Friday. Aided by the full-season teams going 3-1 on the day, the Cubs system posted a 4-3 mark and a positive start to the weekend.


Not only are the Cubs chasing down Norfolk, who won the first half, but they are locked into a battle with St. Paul for the top spot in the second. Every win for them is crucial the rest of the way, and they started the second half with a big win as they took down the Clippers 7-3.

Caleb Kilian was back on the bump for the Cubs and pitched well despite not qualifying for the win. He gave up three runs on six hits and struck out seven. He also only walked one batter as he opened the second half the way he finished the first. Kilian was backed by some early run support, with Edwin Rios coming through with an RBI double in the first to make things 2-0.

Dom Nunez answered that with a solo homer in the second as Iowa opened up an early 3-0 lead.

Kilian was on top of his game through three innings, but once the fourth inning began, you started to see him lose that edge. That started with the Jhonkensey Noel homer in the fourth to pull the Clippers within 3-2 before they added their third run of the game in the fifth when Noel took the bases-loaded walk.

Fortunately for the Cubs, they also showed up in a big way in that fifth inning, scoring four times to bust the game open. Alexander Canario returned to Iowa and immediately added an RBI single to push the lead to 4-2. That was followed by a Jake Slaughter double that extended the lead to 6-2, with Bryce Windham capping off the scoring with a sacrifice fly.

After Kilian allowed his third run in the bottom half of the fifth, the Cubs pen took care of the rest as they tossed 4 1/3 shutout innings to grab the win. Canario led the offense with two hits and his RBIs as he was joined by Matt Mervis and Nelson Velazquez and their two hits.


Behind a fabulous pitching performance and a pair of two-run innings, the Smokies remained hot as they down the Biscuits 4-0. Richard Gallardo made the start, but after leaving his start just 2/3 into the first inning, there is some concern about his injury. He was relieved by Carlos Guzman, who earned the win after tossing 3 1/3 scoreless innings with four punchouts.

Despite Gallardo getting hurt, the Smokies pitching was more than up to the task, but it was their offense that struggled early. Logan Workman was on the bump for Montgomery and gave the Biscuits five strong innings of two-run ball. Only one of those runs was earned as he did his part on the mound.

With the score tied 0-0 entering the fifth, Pete Crow-Armstrong returned to the Smokies after his all-star week facilities and laced an RBI triple that put the Smokies in front and proved the winning run.

A costly fielding error followed that up as Tennessee opened up a 2-0 lead at this point.

After reaching on an error in his previous at-bat, Levi Jordan came through in the seventh inning and used a two-run single to put the Smokies in front 4-0.

That would be all the offense they would need, as their pitching took care of the rest. PCA and Cole Roederer led the offense with two hits, while Jordan picked up three RBIs.


Talk about an exciting game in Davenport; after neither team was able to do much of anything after the second inning, things picked up late as the River Bandits rallied to take a late game lead in the eighth. Things were just getting started at that point as the Cubs used a massive six-run ninth inning to pick up a 9-4 win.

While most of the night was filled with a plethora of left-handed arms, Brandon Birdsell was not one of them, as he earned the start for the Cubs. Birdsell only lasted 3 2/3, but after allowing just one run on three hits with eight punchouts, his night came to a successful end.

The real story was the strategy that Lance Rymel went with as he used an abundance of left-handers out of the pen.

That included Stephen Gonsalves on a rehab assignment and the return of Brailyn Marquez, who threw a dominating inning with two strikeouts. Despite the Cubs staff pitching well, Lunider Avila pitched equally well, allowing two runs in five innings and striking out five.

Both of the runs Avila allowed came in the second when Fabian Pertuz and Ethan Hearn picked up consecutive RBI doubles to take a 2-0 lead. Quad Cities didn't waste any time getting one of those runs back, with River Town using an RBI single to make things 2-1, as that was the lone run off of Birdsell.

Following a third-inning double from James Triantos, neither offense could do much of anything, as there were no more hits until the seventh inning.

That seventh inning was when both offenses started to come to life as Kevin Made picked up a bloop hit before the Triantos sacrifice fly, extending the Cub's lead to 3-1. Had it not been for a costly Christian Franklin mistake on the bases, the Cubs could have had even more.

Like in the second when the Cubs opened the scoring, the River Bandits had an answer to that run, with Town picking up his second RBI with an RBI groundout. One inning later, it looked as if the big blow would be the end of the line for the Cubs as Adam Laskey served up a long two-run shot to Juan Carlos Negret, and just like that, Quad Cities took a 4-3 lead.

Entering the ninth inning, the Cubs had a 1-38 record this season when trailing and were winless on the road in those same situations. You knew that would end eventually, but no one saw this coming. Following a one-out walk by Ezequiel Pagan, Quad Cities opened the floodgates as a game-ending double play turned into an error, and the Cubs capitalized.

Not only did they tie things up shortly after on the Triantos fielder's choice, but Kevin Alcantara and Yohendrick Pinango added consecutive RBI singles to put the Cubs back in front 6-4.

Felix Stevens then came through with the biggest hit of the night for the Cubs as he blasted a three-run shot to cap off the six-run frame and gave the Cubs a 9-4 win.


Despite this being one of those series the Pelicans should win, they will not win every game and were the lone full-season team not to win. Grant Kipp didn't last long in his outing after allowing eight hits in 3 1/3, but he only gave up one run as he did his part on the mound.

The problem was having a struggling bullpen that took a little while to settle in while Will Rudy was doing his thing on the mound for Carolina. Rudy only had three strikeouts, but he also allowed two runs, with one coming as an earned run in his outing. Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the first, Andy Garriola quickly tied things up as his RBI groundout put the Pelicans on the board.

That started what appeared to be a good night ahead as Rafael Morel delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the second to put the Birds in front 2-1.

That was the only lead the Pelicans would have in the game, with Jesus Chirinos tying things up in the fourth with an RBI single.

Once the fifth inning rolled around, the Mudcats offense came to life as they used a three-run frame to open up a 5-2 lead. Jadher Areinamo started that inning with the go-ahead RBI single, but the Jose Sibrian double made things 5-2 and proved to be the game-winning hit.

Carolina made that score hold until the ninth, when the Pelicans started to make things interesting. Jefferson Rojas and Garriola opened the bottom of the ninth with a pair of singles, bringing the tying run to the plate. Two flyouts later and the Pelicans were in the same situation, only to see a walk and a wild pitch to Morel push home another run to make things 5-3. With the winning run now batting, Pedro Ramirez was unable to deliver as he struck out to end the game.


Sparked by six late-game runs, including three in the ninth, it was the Cubs who survived the Giants and picked up the win. Pitching was the theme early for the Cubs as three pitchers combined to toss three shutout innings before things came undone late.

Fortunately, the Cubs were backed by plenty of offense, including Alexis Hernandez, Brayan Altuve, and Christopher Paciolla, who all had two RBIs in the win. Paciolla and Altuve had homers in the game, with Hernandez picking up a single for his RBIs. With the game tied 6-6 entering the ninth, Jefferson Encarnacion continued to do damage as his ground-rule double gave the Cubs the lead. Adan Sanchez followed that up with an RBI single that was the game-winning hit for the Cubs.


This was a painful loss for the Cubs as the Red Sox scored four times in the sixth to win the game. Miguel Cruz got the start and looked very good as he tossed three scoreless frames with six strikeouts. Unfortunately for him, the Cubs did him dirty as they failed to give him any support and trailed 5-0 before they started to come back.

Alexey Lumpuy started the comeback bid with an RBI single in the sixth before Grenyerbert Velazquez pulled the Cubs within 5-2 with his sacrifice fly in the seventh. The Cubs continued their comeback bid with a pair of runs in the eighth as a wild pitch led to the first run ahead of the Moises Febrillet sacrifice fly had the Cubs within one before losing by that score.


Like in the other DSL game, the DSL Red squad fell victim to a four-run frame, as that was the difference in their loss. This time it came early in the game and after the Cubs opened up a comfortable lead. Joan Delgado unloaded for a two-run shot in the first to put the Cubs up 2-0, with Yidel Diaz adding a double in the third to extend the lead to 3-0.

Not only was that it for the Cubs offense, but Pittsburgh erased that lead in the bottom half of the third as they scored four times to take the lead for good. Although it was a wild pitch that gave them the lead, the Tony Blanco Jr hit was the big blow as his three-run shot tied things up. The Pirates added a late run on a throwing error later in the game as they came through for the win.

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