Cubs Minor League News: Caissie and Howard homer, Thompson impressive, Triantos raking

Cubs Minor League News: Caissie and Howard homer, Thompson impressive, Triantos raking

by - Senior Writer -

Winning is not only contagious, but it can be fun too. With the Chicago Cubs winning in dramatic fashion for the second straight game in Milwaukee, the winning ways trickled down to the Minors, where they put together a great night.

Overall, it was a near-perfect night on the diamond for the Cubs, who posted a 3-1-1 mark. That could turn into 4-1 or 3-2 as one game was left suspended in the ninth, tied 6-6. Add that to two other one-run games, and the competition was great, as the wins came in bunches on Wednesday.


For the second straight night, it was a one-run win for the Cubs, and it was by the same score. These are the games you have to have when facing a team battling you for a playoff spot, as they overtook the Saints for first in the division. Seeing Riley Thompson return to his April form was a great sight as the right-hander struck out seven in six strong innings. He allowed one run and scattered three hits before handing over to Rowan Wick, Brendon Little, and Manny Rodriguez.

Opposing Thompson was Aaron Sanchez, who continues to try and work his way back to the bigs. Sanchez got through five innings, allowing two runs while striking out five. Iowa opened the scoring in the bottom of the second when Luis Vazquez lined a base hit to left for the 1-0 lead. The Saints answered in the fourth of the Kyle Garlick double to tie things up before Vazquez delivered in the fifth with a solo shot to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead.

Holding that 2-1 lead in the seventh, St. Paul battled back as Anthony Prato tied things up with a sacrifice fly, taking away a win from Thompson. Fortunately, they didn't take a win away from the Cubs as Nelson Velazquez delivered the game-winning RBI double in the bottom of the seventh to put the Cubs up 3-2 before Rodriguez slammed the door for his team-leading 11th save in the ninth. Vazquez led the way with two hits and two RBIs, with Bryce Windham adding two hits. Velazquez, David Bote, and Miles Mastrobuoni had the other three hits.


After falling to the Barons 9-8 on Tuesday, the Smokies returned the favor on Wednesday as it was their turn to win a close game in walk-off fashion. Walker Powell has endured an up-and-down 2023, but things are trending in the right direction lately. Following a six-inning start that saw him allow three runs, Powell is in a good place as he handed things to Blake Whitney and Cayne Ueckert the rest of the way.

Like Iowa, the Smokies stuck first as Owen Caissie left the yard for No. 15 in the first inning to give Tennessee a 1-0 lead.

Homers played a considerable part in this game, as all three runs against Powell came on the long ball, making his line look better than it was. The first of those came in the third on the Chris Shaw blast that tied things up, only to see Caissie put the Smokies back in front with an RBI double in the bottom of the third.

Clinging to that 2-1 lead in the sixth, it wasn't one, but two solo shots that gave Birmingham the lead as Terrell Tatum and Jose Rodriguez took Powell deep. Those would be the game's final runs for Birmingham, as the Smokies pen did a great job. Like in the third when Birmingham scored their first run, the Smokies answered in the bottom of the sixth as Cole Roederer tied things up with an RBI groundout.

That score would hold through the ninth, as there would be extra innings needed to provide a winner. That winner happened to be Tennessee as Haydn McGeary came through with the walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th to give Tennessee the win.

Tennessee had five hits in the game, with Caissie leading the way with three to go with his two RBIs. Pete Crow-Armstrong and BJ Murray Jr provided the other two hits.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 6 - PEORIA CHIEFS 6 (Suspended in the 9th)

The lone game that didn't finish or yield a result was in South Bend, as Mother Nature suspended this game until Thursday. It came after the Cubs put the winning run on second in the bottom of the ninth with Kevin Alcantara coming to bat, so you have to like their chances at a win.

Cade Horton was taking the ball for the Cubs, and he has been in quite a dominating role lately. This was not one of those starts for Horton as he labored through five innings, allowing five runs and only striking out four. The good news was having Max Bain, and Adam Laskey keep the Peoria offense in check for four innings, with Bain making his season debut with South Bend.

Horton has done a great job of keeping the ball in the yard this season, but he did allow two homers in this one, with the first coming from RJ Yeager in the first to put the Chiefs in front 1-0. Once the third inning rolled around, the Cub's offense started to heat up as they scored four times in the next two frames on a pair of two-run innings. James Triantos put the Cubs on the board with an RBI double in the third and then came around to score on the Alcantara single to give them the lead.

That lead didn't last long as the Jeremy Rivas double in the fourth brought things back to even 2-2. South Bend continued to make hard contact in the fourth, with Ed Howard leaving the yard to make things 3-2, followed by another Triantos RBI hit to push the lead to 4-2.

There haven't been too many times this season when Horton has given up a lead, but with one swing in the fifth, it was the Chiefs back on top 5-4 as Yeager took Horton deep for the three-run shot to make things 5-4.

Trailing for the second time in the game, the Cubs used their third two-run inning to retake the lead in the sixth as the Luis Verdugo double-tied things up 5-5 before the Kevin Made sacrifice fly gave the Cubs the lead. It was a lead they would hold until the eighth when Rivas came through with a clutch RBI single off of Laskey to tie things up, and that is where we will pick things up on Thursday.

Triantos and Verdugo led the way with two hits and combined for three RBIs. Alcantara, Felix Stevens, and Howard have also added hits thus far.


Of all the Cubs teams to see the field on Wednesday, Myrtle Beach had the least trouble as they used three big innings to do the damage. That was coming off a rough outing on Tuesday, so it was nice to see a bounce-back win.

Drew Gray was making another start for the Birds, and despite walking three in three innings, he didn't allow a run. Gray allowed one hit and struck out four as he has yet to allow a run in full-season ball. Gray gave way to a trio of relief arms that struck out 14 across the final six innings as the Pelicans pitchers combined for 18 strikeouts in the win. Jose Romero had six of those strikeouts, with Starlyn Pichardo adding five.

Myrtle Beach grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first off a Cristian Hernandez single, but it was in the middle innings when the offense started rolling. Myrtle Beach would keep the pressure on in the fourth as the Pedro Ramirez double extended the Bird's lead to 3-0. Already with the lead, the Pelicans put the game away in the sixth and seventh innings as they pushed six more runs across.

Three of those came in the sixth with an error leading to the first of those runs to extend the lead to 4-0. Reivaj Garcia added a sacrifice fly later in the inning, with Hernandez capping off that inning with another RBI single to make things 6-0. The Pelicans added three more in the seventh, with Rafael Morel picking up a bases-loaded walk and Miguel Pabon adding an RBI single. There was also a wild pitch mixed in there as the Pelicans would take a 9-0 lead into the eighth.

In that inning, Augusta finally got on the board as Ambioris Tavarez went deep to make things 9-1. Augusta added two more runs in the ninth off the Tyler Collins double to pull within 9-3 but would fall by that score. Hernandez and Ramirez led the way with two hits and two RBIs.


The lone team to fall on Wednesday came in Rookie League, with the ACL Cubs falling 10-4. Not only have the Reds been one of the more surprising teams in the MLB, but they are now 15-8 in Rookie League action, which shows you how deep their system is.

Pitching was an issue all night for the Cubs, but ironically, the offense carried them early as a massive first inning put them in control. Cristian More opened the scoring with an RBI single to give the Cubs the lead before an error made things 2-0. Christopher Paciolla added an RBI single later in the inning to make things 3-0, as most of the Cub's damage came in that frame.

The Cubs added to their lead in the fourth on the Alexis Hernandez homer as they pushed their lead to 4-0. It was the first homer of the season for Hernandez, but also the final run for the Cubs as the Reds scored 10 unanswered runs to end the game. Five came in the bottom of the fourth as the bases-loaded triple from Jose Serrano tied things up before the Reds took the lead for good on a sacrifice fly.

Ricardo Cabrera extended the lead to 7-4 with a fourth-inning double before the Reds added three more runs in the fifth to close out the 10-4 win. Hernandez and Paciolla had two hits each to lead the offense.

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to Dustin Riese: Email | Comment
MLB insider predicts Cubs will trade for standout pitcher
MLB insider predicts Cubs will trade for standout pitcher
Jim Leyland voted into National Baseball Hall of Fame
Jim Leyland voted into National Baseball Hall of Fame
Cubs re-sign promising reliever
Cubs re-sign promising reliever
Report: Shohei Ohtani not expected to sign during Winter Meetings
Report: Shohei Ohtani not expected to sign during Winter Meetings
Post your comments!