Cubs Minor League News: Kilian decent, Ballestros raking, McGwire gets the start, more
Jayne Kamin Oncea - USA Today Sports

Cubs Minor League News: Kilian decent, Ballestros raking, McGwire gets the start, more

by - Senior Writer -

Another day and another full slate of games for the Cubs minor League system. With five games happening during the evening, around the same time the Cubs and Cardinals play, most fans will have little interest in the Minor League setting.

That's ok; I am here to do all the heavy lifting for you, as all seven games had plenty of intrigue and, of course, plenty of action. It is only a matter of time until the 2023 draft picks are mixed in with many of these players already, and things will look drastically different when that happens. Still, the Cubs posted a 1-5 record on the night.


It was a rough night for the full season teams as none found a way to win. Despite what the scoreboard says, all eight runs came in three innings, with a pair of three-run frames early and a two-run 10th inning to give the Indians the win.

Caleb Kilian was on the mound for the Cubs, and despite his rough start to the game, he did a great job settling in. Kilian gave the Cubs five innings of work and allowed three earned runs. He gave way to Chris Clarke, Ryan Jensen, and Manny Rodriguez, who all pitched well in relief. All of the runs Kilian allowed came in the second inning, and it all started with an RBI groundout. The two-run single from Chris Owings followed that as the Indians opened a nice 3-0 lead.

Two innings later, it was the Cubs turn to get their offense rolling as Darius Hill unloaded for a homer to put Iowa on the board. That homer was followed by the Bryce Windham RBI triple and a Nelson Velazquez single, and just like that, you had a 3-3 game. Those were the final runs of regulation for either team, as it would take extras to decide this one.

In that extra frame, it was the Indians who struck first as Josh Palacios connected for the two-run blast off of Rodriguez to give the Indians the 5-3 lead. Iowa had a chance to make things interesting with Sergio Alcantara adding a single in the bottom of the 10th, but nothing more came from it as the Cubs fell to the Indians in extras.



Despite the Cubs continuing to battle, the wins are hard to come by as they dropped another close contest. Cade Horton made his first start since the all-star break, and this was not one of his better ones. Horton only lasted 3 2/3 and allowed three runs on four hits. He walked none and struck out three as a five-run frame is what did the Cubs in.

The Cubs played catchup right from the start as Gabe Workman delivered an RBI single in the first for a quick 1-0 lead. Luis Verdugo managed to tie things up in the second after grounding into a double play, but it was the fourth inning when West Michigan put things away. Sparked by the Luis Santana single that gave the Whitecaps the lead for good 2-1, West Michigan would score five times in that fourth to take the commanding 6-1 lead. Dom Johnson and Roberto Campos added a pair of two-run singles to close out that inning.

Despite trailing by five, the Cubs wouldn't go away quietly and started to battle back in the bottom of the fourth. Yohendrick Pinango tripled home a run before scoring on the Moises Ballesteros sacrifice fly as the Cubs pulled within 6-3. Ballesteros was just getting started as he added an RBI double in the sixth before coming home on the Verdugo single to pull within 6-5.

Not only did Workman open the scoring in the first, but he also finished the scoring for West Michigan in the seventh as his RBI single provided the game-winning run with the Whitecaps leading 7-5. Kevin Made added an RBI single later in the game for the Cubs, but they still came up short 7-6.


The Pelicans may be one of the better teams in the Cubs system, but even they will have an off night.

Thursday was one of those nights for the Birds as their offense struggled to find their footing while the pitching took some lumps. Luis Rujiano and Koen Moreno struggled with command all night, but after allowing just one run in five combined innings, they did keep things close.

That run came off of Moreno in the fourth when Jean Ramirez delivered the go-ahead RBI single to make things 1-0. The Pelicans did a great job responding in the bottom of the fourth with Rafael Morel using an RBI single to tie the game, but that would be it for the Pelicans offense who struggled after that.

Once the seventh inning rolled around, it was all Columbia as they closed the game with three unanswered runs. The first of those runs came in the seventh off a wild pitch which was the game-winning run. Columbia would then add a sacrifice fly in the eighth, followed by the Omar Hernandez inside-the-park homer in the ninth as they took down the Birds 4-1.


In a game filled with early offense, in six of the games, seven runs came in the first three innings, but four came from the Brewers. That proved too much for the Cubs, as their offense couldn't get rolling. A pair of 2022 Draft selections were on the mound for the Cubs, with Mason McGwire getting the start and allowing four runs in 3 2/3 innings with Brandon Noriega finishing things off.

After the Brewers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first off the Reece Wailing homer, the Cubs responded in the top half of the second, with Brayan Altuve going deep to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead. That was the only lead the Cubs would have, and it didn't last long as the Brewers struck for three more in the second to take a 4-2 lead.

Angel Pereira started things off with an RBI triple before coming home on a sacrifice fly to take a 3-2 lead. Juan Baez capped off the scoring for the Brewers with an RBI single as they led 4-2 after two. Looking to battle back, Leonel Espinoza came through with an RBI double in the sixth to pull within 4-3, but that was as close as they would get as the Cubs fell by that score.


There are losses, and then there are painful losses, as this one falls under the painful category. With the score knotted up 3-3 entering the eighth, the Tigers scored four times to take the lead and win by a 7-3 score. The Cubs opened the scoring with an Albert Gutierrez single in the first before the Tigers started to get some healthy hacks against the Cubs pitchers.

After tying things up on a balk in the second, the Tigers took the lead in the third as Maikol Orozco let the yard for the two-run shot as the Tigers led 3-1. They managed to hold that lead until the bottom of the sixth when Abel De Leon pulled the Cubs within 3-2 with an RBI single. Andres Bonolis would tie things up later in the inning on a sacrifice fly, and just like that, we had a brand new ballgame.

Looking to finish things off late, the Cubs fell victim to one massive inning and one that ended the game as the Tigers scored four times in the eighth to secure the win. Jesus Machado delivered the game-winning hit with an RBI double before scoring on the Orozco double later on. After Cristian Perez made things 6-3 with his single, Angel Cruz capped off the scoring as his solo shot made things 7-3.


Despite some late-game offense from the Marlins, the Cubs took care of business as they built a 7-0 lead before cruising for the win. Miguel Cruz was on the bump for the Cubs in this one and gave the Cubs four scoreless frames. He walked one, struck out four, and scattered three hits across the board.

Cruz was given some early support from his offense as Vincent Nunez singled home a pair in the first to put the Cubs in front 2-0. Even with their offense stalling, the Cubs never trailed as they maintained that lead before adding on in a big way. With Cruz out of the game following the fourth, it was up to the offense to step up, and they did in the fifth.

Alexey Lumpuy picked up his second RBI triple of the week to make things 3-0, with Henniel Alcala adding a two-run shot later in the frame to push the lead to 5-0. Two innings later, the Cubs offense continued to go to work as Lumpuy and Brailin Pascual came away with RBI singles to make things 7-0.

Although they were down by a ton, the Marlins never gave up and made things a game the next two innings. A pair of seventh-inning homers from Khris Almonte and Andres Valor brought home three runs as the Marlins were within 7-3. Almonte would add an additional RBI single in the eighth to make things 7-4, but they would fall by that score. Edward Vargas and Lumpuy led the offense with two hits, while Alcala and Nunez added two RBIs.

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