Cubs Minor League News: Mervis and Velazquez homer, SB with no-hitter, Alcantara raking
Photo courtesy: Iowa Cubs

Cubs Minor League News: Mervis and Velazquez homer, SB with no-hitter, Alcantara raking

by - Senior Writer -

Another day and another full slate of minor league games for fans to keep tabs on. Thursday was a polar opposite of sorts as the full-season teams posted a perfect 4-0 mark, while the Rookie League teams went 0-3. That alone gave the Cubs a winning record for the night as the Cubs went 4-3 on the evening.

Pitching was the name of the story for the full-season leagues, as you saw a pair of shutouts plus a combined no-hitter taking place. That alone made up for what happened early in the week, as things are trending upward with the all-star break looming.


Despite the Saints putting up a three-run inning early in the game, the Cubs stood tall as their pitching silenced the Saints offense most of the game. Jordan Wicks was back on the bump for Iowa as he made his second career AAA start. Wicks wasn't perfect, but he did give the Cubs five innings of three-run ball. He walked four and struck out five as he earned his first career AAA win.

Opposing him was Blayne Enlow, who gutted it out through five innings but was tagged with four earned runs in the process. Matt Mervis opened the scoring for the Cubs in the bottom of the first as he took Enlow deep for the 1-0 lead.

The Cubs made that lead hold until the third when Wicks made his lone mistake. That mistake cost Wicks three runs as Kyle Garlick took him deep for the three-run blast and gave the Saints a 3-1 lead.

Once the bottom of the third rolled around, the long ball played dividends for the Cubs again as the suddenly hot Nelson Velazquez got into one for a three-run blast to put the Cubs back in front 4-3.

The Cubs made that lead hold up the rest of the way with Cam Sanders, Ryan Jensen, and Hunter Bigge locking things down out of the pen, with Luis Vazquez adding the games final run in the sixth with an RBI single to give the Cubs a 5-3 win. Velazquez led the offense with two hits and three RBIs as Miles Mastrobuoni, and Vazquez joined him.


Not only did the Iowa pitching staff hold the Saints to two hits, but the Tennessee staff held the Barons to three hits as their pitching was lights out. Kohl Franklin may not have qualified for the win, but after striking out seven in four shutout innings, he finally put together another great start. He was followed by Ben Hecht, Luke Little, and Zac Leigh as they finished what Franklin started.

Regarding their offense, runs were tough to come by, especially early on, as Matthew Thompson was on top of his game. The right-hander battled some command issues but only allowed one run through 5 1/3. That run came in the fifth inning when Pete Crow-Armstrong cashed in for an RBI single that put the Smokies in front 1-0 and proved to be the game-winning hit.

Tennessee made that lead stick until the eighth inning when Andy Weber came through with a massive RBI single to bring home a pair of insurance runs as the Smokies to a 3-0 lead before winning by that score.

Weber led the offense with two hits and two RBIs as the Smokies had eight hits in the win.


The real excitement from the night came in High-A, where the fans witnessed a fantastic pitching performance. Michael Arias started things off by tossing three shutout innings while working around some big-time command issues. After that, you had four-hitless innings from Jarod Wright, one from Eduarniel Nunez, and one from Frank Scalzo Jr as the Cubs completed the combined No-hitter of Peoria.

Despite their pitching dominating the Chiefs from start to finish, they struggled offensively as Max Rajcic got the start and allowed two runs in five innings. Joseph King followed suit to allow two runs in three innings, but the South Bend staff was far too good on this night. All the Cubs needed to win this game was a measly run which came from an Ed Howard single in the second as he raised his average above the Mendoza line.

Felix Stevens added an RBI single later in the second to double the Cubs lead as he is starting to figure out High-A pitching. Despite holding that 2-0 lead in the seventh and keeping the Chiefs hitless to this point, the Cubs wanted to add some insurance runs, with Kevin Alcantara picking up an RBI single in the seventh to make things 3-0. South Bend added to their lead in the eighth on the Fabian Pertuz double before Scalzo Jr capped off the no-hitter in the ninth to lift South Bend 4-0.

The Cubs had 10 hits in their win, with Alcantara leading the way with three. Howard, Stevens, and Pertuz not only added multiple hits each, but those were the four responsible for the runs in the win.


Things didn't come easy for the Pelicans, but they fought back to take the lead late and held on for another win. Marino Santy got the start, and it wasn't the start he was hoping for. Santy walked more than he struck out and allowed four runs in less than three innings, putting pressure on the Birds pen.

Fortunately, they were up to the task as they allowed just one run in 6 1/3 innings to go with nine strikeouts. Kenyi Perez played a considerable role in that, as he struck out five in three scoreless frames to keep his Low-A ERA at 0.00 for the season.

Although Santy struggled with his command, he was backed by plenty of support as the Pelicans came out swinging in the second. Miguel Pabon opened the scoring with an RBI single to make things 1-0 before the Pedro Ramirez grounder doubled the lead. There was also a throwing error on that groundout that allowed an additional run to score and put the Pelicans up 3-0.

Augusta managed to get one of those runs back in the bottom of the second, but it was the third inning when their offense started to make Santy pay. Jose Dilone did most of the damage in that inning as his two-run single brought things back to even 3-3. Augusta would plate a third run to take the lead off a wild pitch which was also the end of the road for Santy.

Down, but not out, Ramirez came through in the fourth to tie things up with an RBI double before David Avitia singled home the go-ahead run in the sixth. Looking to close things out late, Augusta continued to battle back, with Justin Janas coming through with a game-tying RBI single in the eighth. The Pelicans didn't let that bother them as Cristian Hernandez came through with his biggest hit as a Pelican, delivering the game-winning single in the ninth for the 6-5 win.


Thursday was a rough night for the ACL Cubs as their pitching staff got lit up for 21 runs on just 10 hits. Any time you walk 15 batters in a game, you are asking for trouble which is what the Cubs did. Although the score was heavily in the Royals favor, the Cubs were the ones that came out on fire scoring six times in the first to grab a 6-0 lead.

Christian Franklin opened the scoring with a two-run triple before the Alexis Hernandez triple made things 3-0. Throw in the Jefferson Encarnacion sacrifice fly and Geuri Lubo single to make things 5-0, it was Frank Hernandez capping off the scoring as his solo shot had the Cubs up 6-0.

Once the third inning rolled around, it was all Royals, as they would score 21 times across the next seven frames. Four runs came in the third, with Garbiel Silva picking up a two-run single. There was also a wild pitch and a bases-loaded walk that led to two more runs. After Nick Loftin made things 6-5 in the fourth, CJ Alexander came through with a massive RBI double that saw the Royals take a 7-6 lead.

After quieting down for a bit, the Cubs battled back in their half of the fourth, with Leonel Espinoza coming through with an RBI single that put the Cubs back in front 8-7. The problem with that was those would be the last of the Cub's runs for quite some time while the Royals' offense was just getting started.

Loftin added a two-run homer later in the game, but five wild pitches from the Cubs staff aided five additional runs. You also had Alexander, Jairo Mendez, and Silva add homers late as the Royals played a long ball to open a 21-8 lead. The Cubs did manage to push across three runs in the ninth, with Espinoza adding an RBI groundout ahead of the two-run triple from Alexis Hernandez, but it was nowhere near enough.


For the most part, this season has been a struggle for the Cubs Rookie League teams, especially the ones in the Dominican Republic. For DSL Red, their frustrating start to the season continued as they finally received another strong pitching performance, only to come up empty in the end.

Zhiorman Imbriano has emerged as the ACE of this stuff, and after tossing four scoreless frames to lower his ERA to 2.11, his success continued. Yojeiry Osoria opposed him and gave up one run in four innings with seven strikeouts. That run came on a passed ball in his final inning of work to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead, but it was the only run they would score.

DSL Red held that lead until the sixth when Eduardo Oviedo took it upon himself to tie things up with a solo shot. One inning later, Daje Morales came through with an RBI double to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead as they would win by that score.


Despite the DSL Blue team having a bit more success than DSL Red, the results have still been a struggle as they were doubled up by the Tigers 6-3. Diego Duarte wasn't at his best, as he allowed four runs (3ER) in 3 2/3 innings. The Cubs were the ones that got off to a strong start, with Eriandys Ramon picking up an RBI double to put the Cubs in front 1-0, with an additional run coming home later to put the Cubs up 2-0 in the first.

Their lead didn't last long, with the Tigers responding for two runs of their own in the bottom of the first to pull even 2-2. The Tigers kept the pressure on in the second with Franyerber Montilla picking up an RBI single to put the Tigers in front for good, while a passed ball proved to be the winning run with the Tigers in front 4-2.

Trailing by a pair in the fifth, Derik Alcantara pulled the Cubs within one as his RBI groundout made it a 4-3 game. That was the last of the Cubs runs in the game as the Tigers added a pair of runs later on the Nelson Marin single and Jesus Machado sacrifice fly to pick up the 6-3 win. Edward Vargas led the offense with two of the team's four hits.

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