Cubs Minors Daily: Pagan with homer, Fabrizio with four hits, Hernandez impressive, more


by - Senior Writer -
Jake Roth - USA Today Sports
Jake Roth - USA Today Sports

Mondays are for Rookie League fun, and when you play on Labor Day, it adds even more fun to the equation. Coming away with a winning record should be every organization's goal daily, and that is what the Cubs did Monday.

Led by some strong individual pitching performances and timely hitting, the Cubs Rookie Leagues opened a new week of competition in a positive manner posting a 2-1 mark. With about one month remaining in their season, it will be interesting to see how things finish out as we close the book on 2021 and focus on 2022.

ACL CUBS 9 – ACL GIANTS 2

The Cubs erased an early 2-0 lead by scoring nine unanswered runs, including six in the first three innings to top the Giants. There were plenty of strong pitching performances to go around, but none were as good as 2021 16th round pick Zachary Leigh. Making just his second professional appearance, the right-hander not only tossed two scoreless innings of relief, but struck out all six men he faced.

However, that came later in the game as the Giants managed to strike first immediately in the first, with Alverson Arteaga going deep for the ninth time, giving the Giants an early 2-0 lead. Not only was that the only lead the Giants had, but it was the only offense they would generate as the Cubs went right to work in the bottom of the first using a Miguel Fabrizio homer to tie things up 2-2.

One inning later saw the Cubs grab the lead for good, with Ezequiel Pagan showing off the wheels and bringing home a pair on the RBI triple. Fabrizio added to his already solid game in the third with an RBI double, pushing the Cubs lead to 5-2. An error on the same play allowed for another run to score as it was all Cubs now 6-2.

After scoring six runs in the firsts three innings, the Cubs offense cooled off a little bit, up until the sixth when they broke out for three more runs. Pagan connected for his third RBI of the game with a hard-hit single to left before Kevin Alcantara, and Fabrizio added two more RBI singles to cap off the 9-2 win. Fabrizio was a man on a mission on Monday, going a perfect 4-4 with three RBIs in the win. He is now hitting a .372 on the season.

Pagan added two hits and two RBIs from the lead-off spot, with Alcantara picking up the final credited RBI with his two hits. Malcom Quintero and Miguel Pabon added multi-hit games, with James Triantos and Ismael Mena grabbing one.

DSL RED SOX 4 – DSL CUBS BLUE 3

Led by a strong showing on the mound from several Cubs players, DSL Blue was able to hang with one of the best in the DSL only to come up one run short in the end. Command was an issue for starter Adrian Martinez who walked six batters in just 1 1/3 inning of work, including a bases-loaded walk to Alex Zapete to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the first.

Not to be outdone, the Cubs rallied for a pair of runs in the third and fourth inning with Raul Guzman tying things up with a sacrifice fly in the third and Jerry Torres putting the Cubs in front 2-1 with an RBI groundout. Just like in the first, the Red Sox managed to pick up a run without an RBI hit as the Cubs continued to make life tough on themselves as a wild pitch tied things up 2-2.

Moving to the fifth, Wally Soto continued his recent hot streak using an RBI single to give the Cubs the lead again 3-2. Just like in the fourth, that lead was short-lived as the Red Sox tied it up in the bottom of the fifth off the Rivaldo Avila RBI grounder. Still in the fifth, the Red Sox took the lead for good as another costly wild pitch brought home the winning run in a 4-3 Red Sox win.

Cristian Hernandez and Lizardo Ruiz led the offense to collect a combined four of the team's nine hits. Hernandez has risen his average by nearly 70 points in the past few weeks and is now hitting .278 on the season. Guzman, Soto, Frank Hernandez, Leonel Espinoza, and Joanfran Rojas all had hits in the loss.

DSL CUBS RED 7 – DSL CARDINALS 5

Led by a plethora of early offense that saw the Cubs score five of their seven runs in the first three innings, the bullpen was able to do their job late, halting the Cardinals rally in the 7-5 win. After starter Starlyn Picardo allowed two runs in 2 2/3 innings and Joel Jimenez allowed three in three innings, it was the duo of Luis Reyes and Jose Lopez that went to work. In 3 2/3 combined innings, these two allowed no runs on three hits while striking out four. They did what they needed to preserve the Cubs win.

Despite allowing some early runs, Picardo wasn't that bad, but the Cubs offense sent a message early. Not only did the Moises Ballesteros single in the first give the Cubs the lead for good, but it was the start of what was a massive first inning. Raino Coran added an RBI groundout while an error allowed for a third run to score, with the Cubs leading 3-0 after one.

They continued to build on that lead in the second, with Cristian More coming through with an RBI single to stretch the lead to 4-0. After Romtres Cabrera worked a bases-loaded walk in the top of the third to pull within 4-1, Felix Taveras cashed in with a sacrifice fly pulling the Cardinals within 4-2. The Cubs would extend their lead to 5-2 with a wild pitch before the Samuel Duarte triple in the fifth had them in front 6-2. Little did they know that triple would prove to be the game-winner as the Cardinals offense came to play in the sixth.

Not only did Taveras homer to pull the Cardinals within 6-3. An RBI single from Jeremy Ramos and an RBI triple from Raul Guzman had the Cardinals within 6-5, and suddenly we had a ball game. Fortunately for the Cubs, that would be as close as things would get as the Geuri Lubo single in the bottom of the sixth capped off the scoring in the 7-5 win.

More accounted for 1/3 of the Cubs hits as he tallied a team-high three to go with his RBI. He was the only player with multiple hits as Ballesteros, Fredy Montenegro, Duarte, Wilmer Bolivar, Lubo, and Andrews Cruz all had hits in the game.

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