Cubs Minor League News: Mervis smacks 34th homer, Maldonaldo homers, PCA classy, more

Cubs Minor League News: Mervis smacks 34th homer, Maldonaldo homers, PCA classy, more

by - Senior Writer -

Sunday was a busy afternoon for the Cubs and their minor league system as three teams took part in four games. The results were not what anyone was hoping for, going 1-3 overall, but at least the playoffs will continue for a few more days, which is all anyone wants.

MEMPHIS RED BIRDS 8 - IOWA CUBS 4 (Suspended game)

For the continuation of Saturday's suspended game, Memphis used a five-run sixth and a three-run ninth to score all their runs and doubled up the Cubs for the win. The two-run Juan Yepez double put the Red Birds in front for good, while Moises Gomez delivered the game-winning hit with a two-run homer that saw Memphis lead 5-1.

Matt Mervis did his best to keep things close, as his homer in the seventh brought the Cubs within 5-3.

Memphis responded with homers from Gomez and Clint Coulter in the ninth to pull away. Levi Jordan capped off the scoring with a homer in the bottom of the ninth.


Unlike the first game where the offense was king, the pitching set the tone later, with the Red Birds having enough of that. Anderson Espinoza got the start and took the loss despite a decent outing. The right-hander allowed three runs in 4 1/3 and is now 0-5 with AAA Iowa.

While his outing wasn't terrible, when you have a guy in Thomas Parsons allowing just one run in 4 2/3 with eight strikeouts, it is tough to win. Not only did Ivan Herrera put the Redbirds in front with an RBI single in the first, but homers from Scott Hurst in the third and Pedro Pages in the fourth had Memphis up 3-0. The Hurst homer was the game-winning hit as the Cubs offense struggled all game.

The lone run for the Cubs came in the fifth inning when Narcisco Crook was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Iowa still had a chance for more in that inning, but Brennen Davis struck out to end the threat and killed any hopes of a Cubs comeback.


Although the week didn't go as planned, the Smokies capped off their regular season with a dominating win and can focus on Rocket City for the playoffs. Lost in all the playoff talk was Richard Gallardo was promoted to Tennessee to make this start. Gallardo wasn't great, but wasn't terrible either, as he allowed three runs in four innings with six strikeouts.

Fortunately for him, he was greeted with plenty of offense, and a big chunk of that offense came in the first inning. Leading 1-0 after the Yonathan Perlaza fielders choice, Cole Roederer uncorked a ground-rule double to extend the lead to 3-0 before wild pitch made it 4-0.

The Lookouts managed to keep things close early as all three runs off Gallardo came on homers, with Jacob Hurtubise, Daniel Vellojin, and Matt McClain grabbing those homers. Granted, it chased him earlier than he would have liked, Nelson Maldonado added a homer of his own in there as the Smokies still lead 6-3 after four.

Still holding a three-run lead in the sixth, it was the Smokies who began to pull away, with Jake Washer adding an RBI single in the sixth and a two-run shot in the eighth mixed with DJ Arits triple to cap off the scoring for Tennessee as they rolled to the 11-4 win. Maldonado, Washer, and Artis all had two hit days as they combined to drive in seven of the 11 runs.


In what will be their final home game of the 2022 season, the Cubs wasted a golden opportunity and are now on the brink of Championship elimination. With Luis Devers set to start game two, South Bend was hoping right-hander Kohl Franklin could give them enough to take the series lead.

Instead, you have a guy who has struggled all season blow a five-run lead after allowing five runs in 3 1/3, and the rest was history after that. With both teams scoreless in the second, the South Bend offense came to life and brought the crowd to their feet.

Off a pair of RBI doubles from Pablo Aliendo and Kevin Made, mixed with singles from Yohendrick Pinango and Jordan Nwogu, the Cubs pushed across five runs in their half of the second to take a 5-0 lead. Now within 5-1 in the fourth, it was time for Lake County to use a big inning of their own as they chased Franklin in the process.

On the strength of three RBI singles from Yordys Valdes, Petey Halpin, and Alexfri Planez, the Captains were within one run of the Cubs. Add in a bases-loaded walk and a balk, and just like that, the Captains led as their five-run frame put them in front 6-5. Made made sure they wouldn't be trailing for long as his homer later in the inning brought things back to even, and the slugfest was on.

Not only did Planez put the Captains in front for good with a single in the fifth, but the Valdes double mixed with the Jordan Naranjo single had the Captains up 9-6 in the sixth, and they never looked back. Being that this was not only their final home game, but the championship series, South Bend was not going to go away quietly as Pinango added an RBI single in the sixth along with a Fabian Pertuz sacrifice fly to pull within 9-8.

Unfortunately, their offense stopped there as Lake County drove in two more runs later in the game while their bullpen took care of the rest to seal the deal in what was an 11-8 game one win. BJ Murray Jr led the offense with three hits, but several others had big days.

Aliendo, Made, Pinango, and Nwogu all had multi-hit days while driving in a large portion of the Cubs runs. With a travel day on Monday, the Cubs will look to force a decisive game three as they face elimination Tuesday night at Lake County.

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