Crook smacks two homers in blowout win (Photo via Iowa Cubs)
Crook smacks two homers in blowout win (Photo via Iowa Cubs)

Cubs Minor League News: Crook blasts two homers, Canario raking, Amaya hot, PCA homers

by - Senior Writer -

Since the return of baseball from the all-star break, baseball has been fun to watch if you are a Cubs fan. Not only has the Major League team gotten off to a 2-0 start, but the minor leagues posted a 6-1 mark on Saturday, with DSL Blue suffering the lone loss.

While there were a few strong pitching performances coming in AAA and HIgh-A, the offense stole the show as the Cubs brought plenty of fireworks for their fans throughout the day.


While game one out of the break didn't go as planned, game two was a different story with the Cubs rolling 10-0. Caleb Killian was brilliant, allowing just one hit in five innings while striking out eight. Sean Newcomb went the rest of the way, allowing two hits in four innings while striking out six.

Pitching was undoubtedly a strong point in this one, but the Iowa offense also played a massive role in getting things going. Most of the damage came in the fifth inning as the Iowa Cubs brought home seven runs in the fifth to end a scoreless tie. Two-run singles by Erick Castillo and Darius Hill got things rolling before Narciso Crook cranked a three-run shot.

That inning seemed to awaken the Cubs offense as they added two more in the sixth off a Levi Jordan homer and Hill single, with Crook adding his second homer in the seventh to cap off the 10-0 game. Crook led the offense with three hits and four RBIs, while Hill, Dixon Machado, and Jordan added two.


The offense was the name of the game on Saturday in the Cubs system, with Tennessee going to town for 12 wins to pick up another win. DJ Herz made his AA debut, which was a night to forget as he allowed four runs in just 2/3 of an inning while walking three.

He gave way to Peyton Remy, who allowed two runs in four innings while the combination of Jeremiah Estrada and CD Pelham tossed 4 2/3 scoreless frames to finish things off. Tennessee may have gotten out to a 1-0 lead with a Yonathan Perlaza homer in the first, but it was all Chattanooga the next two innings.

A three-run shot by TJ Hopkins capped off a four-run first to make things 4-1 in the first as Herz was chased early. Hopkins added a sacrifice fly in the second and an Elly De La Cruz double as the Lookouts were off and running 6-1. Like Iowa, Tennessee used a massive inning to gain control, and that inning came in the fourth as the Smokies brought home eight runs to take the lead for good.

Bradlee Beesley started things off with an RBI single before the Jake Slaughter sacrifice fly made things 6-3. That was when the long ball came into play as Alexander Canario cranked a game-tying homer ahead of a Bryce Ball solo shot and the Miguel Amaya two-run blast to put Tennessee up 9-6.

That score would hold until the eighth inning when Chase Strumpf added an RBI double before the Smokies brought home two more in the ninth off of doubles by Beesley and Slaughter to cap off the 12-6 victory. Ball led the way with three hits as everyone in the lineup had one, with most having two.


Following a disappointing opening to the second half, the Cubs got back on track to take down the River Bandits 6-2. Luis Devers continues to impress since his promotion as he not only went six shutout innings to pick up the win, but six no-hit innings as his ERA fell to 0.54.

Through seven innings, one run seemed to be enough, with Owen Caissie putting the Cubs on top for good with an RBI single in the first. He would then add a homer in the fourth inning, with Jake Washer delivering the game-winning homer as South Bend extended their lead to 3-0 in the fourth. Michael McAvene followed him up with a shutout seventh inning before Sheldon Reed allowed two runs late.

One inning later, the same story with Washer coming through with an RBI single to extend the Cubs lead to 5-0. Pete Crow-Armstrong got in on the fun with a homer in the sixth as he capped off the scoring for the Cubs, with South Bend leading 6-0.

Both Quad City runs came in the ninth on RBI singles by Herard Gonzalez and Juan Carlos Negret, but the Cubs took care of the rest. With 13 hits, there was plenty of offense to go around, with Caissie leading the way with three. Kevin Made made his High-A debut and was the only player without a hit.


The Pelicans made it a clean sweep for the full season leagues, as their offense came to play in a big way. Richard Gallardo seems to be slowly back on track as he improved to 6-6 following five solid innings. His three runs allowed were not great, but one walk and five strikeouts worked in his favor as the offense backed him in a big way.

Led by RBI singles from Jacob Wetzel and Scott McKeon in the second anchored with a wild pitch, the Pelicans were off and running early and built an early 3-0 lead. The Riverdogs struck back with a Logan Allen solo shot in the third, but Myrtle Beach put the game away once the fourth inning rolled around.

James Triantos picked up a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 4-1 before Ezequiel Pagan delivered a game-winning single. Another wild pitch made things 6-1 for the Pelicans second three-run inning of the day. Leading 7-1 in the fifth, Charleston continued to hang around with Jeffry Marte, picking up an RBI single ahead of the Shane Sasaki sacrifice fly to make things 7-3.

Wetzel connected for a two-run shot in the sixth ahead of a Triantos single in the seventh as the Pelicans extended their lead to 10-3.

Myrtle Beach added four more runs in the ninth, with Kevin Alcantara picking up an RBI groundout with Wetzel going deep for a second time as his three-run shot capped off a 14-4 win.

Alcantara paced the offense with four hits, with Wetzel and Pagan adding three. Wetzel also single handily outscored the Riverdogs as he drove in six runs in the win.


Since the turn of the all-star break, the ACL Cubs have been much more competitive and seem to be heading in the right direction. Despite struggling with his command, Starlyn Picardo managed to cap off his outing without allowing a run before turning things over to Didier Vargas, who did the same. Sam Thoreson continued that trend as the Cubs pitching made life easier for the offense.

Cristian Hernandez put the Cubs in front for good in the first inning as his RBI ground out made things 1-0. He would be part of the Cubs second run in the fourth as he stole third and advanced home on the throwing error as that run proved to be the winning run.

Holding that 2-0 lead in the fifth, Moises Ballesteros delivered an RBI single to double that lead before the Dilan Granadillo double in the sixth capped off the scoring for the Cubs. The Luis Freitez double in the ninth ended the shutout bid, but the Cubs still cruised to another win. Ismael Mena paced the offense with two hits, while Hernandez, Ballesteros, Granadillo, and Pedro Ramirez had hits.

DSL CUBS RED 12 - DSL Mets 11

Anchored by a six-run second inning, the Cubs offense was locked into an offensive battle as they walked off the Mets 12-11. Trailing 2-0 in the second after the Yoandy Perez triple, the Cubs offense responded in a big way.

Carlos Ramos put the Cubs on the board with an RBI triple and then came home on the Darlyn De Leon single. Two wild pitches and an error later, it was 5-2 before the Adan Sanchez RBI grounder had the Cubs in front 6-2. The Mets wouldn't go away as they battled back with a three-run fourth to pull within 6-5, with De Leon making things 7-5 in the fifth.

The big inning for the Mets came in the sixth as Carlos Oviedo came through with a bases-loaded double to cap off a four-run inning that saw the Cubs trailing 9-7 by the innings end. Lizardo Ruiz played a role in tying things up in the sixth before both teams exchanged runs in the seventh to send the game to extras, tied 10-10.

Trailing 11-10 in the eighth, a wild pitch helped the Cubs draw even before Offerman Hernandez came through with the walk-off single to give the Cubs a 12-11 win. While the Cubs may have had just eight hits, they did take 15 walks in the huge win.


The lone team to come away with a loss was DSL Blue, as a four-run fifth inning did them in. After keeping things close by trailing 2-0 after four, the Mets put the game away in the fifth, using a four-run inning to do so.

Yoshiro Cuevas started things with a two-run single as Jose Aular, and Manuel Guance picked RBI singles later in the inning to put the Mets in front 6-0. The Silver Gomez triple in the sixth capped off the shutout bid, but that would be all the offense for the Cubs on the afternoon.

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