Machado had a homer in the I-Cubs win (Photo via Iowa Cubs)
Machado had a homer in the I-Cubs win (Photo via Iowa Cubs)

Cubs Minor League News: Machado and Mervis homer, Hertz impressive, Hearn raking, more


by - Senior Writer -

Friday was exciting for the Cubs Minor League system as wins were plentiful. Not only did the Cubs come away with a pair of extra inning wins, but all four full-season teams came away with a victory to give the Cubs a 4-0 mark.

With that, it means that South Bend and Tennessee remain in first place in the second half while Myrtle Beach continues their question to the playoffs.

IOWA CUBS 5 - SAINT PAUL SAINTS 4 (F/10)

With their top pitching arm Caleb Killian on the mound, the Cubs had to like their chances to even up the series. Even with Killian walking six men in four innings of work, he limited the damage as he struck out six and allowed just one earned run.

That allowed the Cubs offense to get things rolling, and that they did as they got off to a fast start before winning in extras 5-4. The home run ball played a significant role in the Cubs early game runs, with Dixon Machado and Matt Mervis picking up solo shots in the first to make things 2-0.

Curtis Terry brought the Saints within 2-1 in the bottom of the first until the Erick Castillo single in the second extended the lead to 3-1. That 3-1 lead held until the bottom of the seventh, when it started to become the Jermaine Palacios show. Not only did he tie things up with a homer in the seventh, but following the Narcisco Crook homer in the eighth, Palacios unloaded off of Ben Leeper in the ninth for his second homer in as many at-bats.

The second home tied things up 4-4 and sent the game into extras. Looking to grab the lead right back, the Cubs had their chances with not one, but two runners thrown out trying to score. Still, Iowa continued to keep the pressure on, eventually paying off as a wild pitch led to the winning run coming across.

Even at that, things were not easy for Leeper in the bottom of the ninth as the Saints had the bases loaded with just one out. Leeper picked the perfect time to make one of his best pitches as he induced a game-ending double play to give the Cubs a 5-4 win.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 3 - BIRMINGHAM BARONS 2

Even with mother nature forcing a minor stoppage in this game, the Smokies were not going to be denied as a three-run fifth was all they needed to move back into first place. DJ Herz was making his second career AA start as he was hoping for a much better go around this time.

Despite some first-inning troubles that saw Raudy Read give the Barons a 1-0 lead, Herz was good as he settled in nicely. The left-hander may have walked four, but he struck out five and walked just one in what was otherwise a strong outing.

He gave way to Peyton Remy, who tossed three scoreless frames before Jeremiah Estrada locked things down.

Although the Cubs offense did next to nothing through four innings, they only needed one inning to pick up the win, with that coming in the fifth. With a bases-loaded situation, Jake Slaughter cashed in as his floater to left field gave the Smokies a 2-1 lead.

The next pitch saw Jake Washer line one into left to bring home another run as the Smokies led 3-1 heading into the late innings.

Still holding that lead in the ninth, the Lookouts began to make a ton of noise as they had Estrada on the ropes. With an Evan, Skoug double making things 3-2, the Barons needed just one hit to win this game. Fortunately for the Smokies, that hit never came as Estrada buckled down when he needed to finish things off.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 7 - LAKE COUNTY CAPTAINS 6 (F/10)

Despite pushing across five runs in the first inning, the Cubs saw their lead quickly evaporate as the Captains cashed in with a five-run inning of their own. That helped send things to extras, where a wild pitch allowed the winning run to score in the walk-off 7-6 win.

All eyes were on starting pitcher Wade Miley as he made his long-awaited rehab outing. After a solid first two frames, things came unglued in the third as he was charged with five runs and four earned in 2 1/3 innings. Sheldon Reed finished that inning before Luis Devers gave the Cubs five scoreless frames out of the pen.

Two batters into the game, the Captains had a 1-0 lead as Joe Naranjo picked up an RBI single up the middle. Once the bottom of the first came around, it was a nightmare scenario for the Captains as 10 hitters came to bat with five runs coming home.

The first of those runs came on a wild pitch as the Cubs were back to even 1-1. Kevin Made made things 2-1 with a sacrifice fly, while singles from Pablo Aliendo and BJ Murray Jr extended that lead to 4-1. Luis Verdugo capped off that five-run frame with an RBI double down the line as the Cubs took a 5-1 lead.

Despite having a big lead, things began to change in the third as it was time for the Captains to bring the lumber. Not only did RBI singles from Alexfri Planes and Milan Tolentino lead to three runs, but five total runs scored in that half of an inning, with the Captains taking a 6-5 lead.

With Verdugo tying things up in the sixth, both bullpens were strong the rest of the way as they, too, went into extra innings. Hunter Bigge made quick work of the Captains in the top half of the 10th, and now it was up to the Cubs offense.

Casey Optiz started that 10th inning rally with a bunt single that saw Yeison Santana sprint from home to third. That proved exceptionally costly for the Captains as a wild pitch shortly after allowed Santana to score and gave the Cubs a huge win.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 5 - AUGUSTA GREENJACKETS 2

Even if their play hasn't been as good this half, the Pelicans are still a first-place team who is getting hot at the right time. Led by another strong showing from Tyler Santana, who improved to 8-1 with a 2.37 ERA, the Pelicans have now won three straight to seize command of the series.

Santana was excellent as he allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings while adding seven strikeouts. Like most of the teams in the system, it was the Pelicans striking first as a costly error allowed for the game's first run. That lead didn't last long, with Adam Zebrowski picking up a second-inning RBI double to tie things up before the Pelicans offense went to work.

With one swing in the fourth inning, Ethan Hearn gave the Pelicans the win as his two-run shot made things 3-1. After Zebrowski pulled the Greenjackets to within 3-2, the Pelicans put things away late as they picked up a pair of eighth-inning runs to close out the scoring in the 5-2 win.

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