Cubs Minors Daily: Willson Contreras homers in rehab start, Nwogu impressive, more


by - Senior Writer -
Contreras homered during his rehab start (Photo via Iowa Cubs)
Contreras homered during his rehab start (Photo via Iowa Cubs)

Get Ready, Cubs fans, it is September 1, and you know what that means? It is time for September call-up season. Unlike years in the past where you could carry up to 40 players, this season will not be like that as rosters will expand from 26-28 players. That means unless you are sending players down, you can't call up nearly as many guys as you once could.

Fortunately for the Cubs, they have slowly been calling up players for the better part of the last month, and they have now brought in every player they have wanted to see, minus maybe seeing Greg Deichmann return at some point. With two roster spots up for grabs and most likely Willson Contreras and Adbert Alzolay taking those spots watching minor league baseball in September will be different this season as the Cubs closed out August with a 2-4 mark on Tuesday.

INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS 4 – IOWA CUBS 3

Iowa has had a rough season this year as they continue to struggle for wins. Despite a solid four-inning start from Joe Biagini, the Cubs bullpen couldn't hold the lead as the Indians rallied late to pick up the win. Biagini was impressive, allowing one run on five hits in four innings.

Speaking of Deichmann, he put the Cubs in front right away with an RBI single in the first as Iowa had a 1-0 lead. Following a Ka'ai Tom RBI groundout to tie things up 1-1 in the second, Willson Contreras made his first rehab appearance and took a pitch over the center-field fence for a home.

Contreras is coming off a knee injury and should take one of the two roster spots available in the coming days.

Two innings later saw another home run lead the yard, this time by Bligh Madris, as his homer tied things up 2-2 in the fifth inning. The Cubs continued to go about their business and battle the Indians, with Tyler Ladendorf picking up a sixth-inning sacrifice fly to take a 3-2 lead. Unfortunately, that would be all the offense the Cubs would have as the Indians pushed across two eighth-inning runs of Brendon Little to pick up the 4-3 comeback win.

Deichmann led the offense with two hits while Contreras, Ian Miller, Nick Martini, and Trent Giambrone had hits. Tommy Nance continued to pitch well since returning to Iowa as he was the lone pitcher on the Iowa staff not to allow a run.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES vs. ROCKET CITY TRASH PANDAS: (CANCELED COVID)

As if having four games canceled due to COVID last week, Tennessee is still dealing with COVID issues as they have canceled two more games this week.

LAKE COUNTY CAPTAINS 4 – SOUTH BEND CUBS 3

Losing games late was an issue last night for the Cubs as they allowed a ninth-inning run to fall to the Captains. Chris Clarke delivered by far his best outing as a Cub this season as the righty went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits. To go with that, Clarke walked two and struck out eight as he was impressive all game long.

Clarke had the Captains guessing through three innings as both teams played to a scoreless tie at that point up until Johnathan Rodriguez picked up the go-ahead single in the fourth. Two innings later, Jhonkensy Noel picked up an RBI single of his own as Lake County held a 2-0 lead in the sixth. Despite not scoring through five innings, the Cubs finally got the offense rolling in the bottom of the sixth, with Bryce Ball picking up an RBI double to put the Cubs on the board.

A Joe Donovan homer in the seventh put the Captains back in front 3-1, but it was then time for South Bend to rally back. Not only did Bryce Windham single home a run in the seventh to pull within 3-2, but Ball came through with another RBI hit in the eighth as South Bend clawed back to tie things up 3-3. Unfortunately for the Cubs, the Captains had the last laugh as a Danis Correa wild pitch pushed across the winning run in the ninth, with the Captains winning 4-3.

Ball led the way with two hits and two RBIs as he was joined with Alexander Canario with multi-hit efforts. Yohendrick Pinango, Tyler Durna added hits, with Windham also picking up two hits in the losing effort.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 5 – LYNCHBURG HILLCATS 3

The lone full-season team to grab a win last night was Myrtle Beach, as they took down the Hillcats 5-3. Richard Gallardo wasn't great, but the righty did get through 4 2/3 innings on the mound allowing three runs on seven hits, but kept his team in the game. That is when Jose Almonte and Jarod Wright took over as they held the Hillcats scoreless across the final four-plus innings allowing just one hit in the process.

Korey Holland put the Hillcats in front 1-0 with an RBI single in the second, only to see Ethan Hearn fly into a sacrifice fly double play in the bottom of the second to tie things up 1-1.

After two scoreless frames from both sides, Lynchburg retook the lead in the fifth using an RBI single from Petey Halpin to grab the lead before the Angel Martinez RBI groundout added to it to make things 3-1.

With the Pelicans bullpen now doing their thing on the mound, it was up to the offense to cash in, and that they did in the sixth inning. With Jonathan Sierra getting things rolling with an RBI single, the Pelicans tied things up on a wild pitch before the Peter Matt single gave them the lead for good. One inning later saw Jordan Nwogu connect for his seventh homer to extend the Pelicans lead to 5-3 as Wright closed things out from there.

Not only did Nwogu have two hits, but so did Sierra and Matt, as they provided most of the damage. The rest of the lineup did what they needed to do, as Hearn was the lone player who didn't record a hit in the win.

ACL GIANTS 9 – ACL CUBS 5

The Cubs will be happy when they are done playing the Giants as this is one team with their number in the ACL. After dominating through the first six innings, the Giants scored eight runs over their final three at-bats to pull away for the win.

While most of the pitchers allowed at least one run in their start, Rony Baez did not, and he was impressive in his three innings of work. Not only did he not allow a run, but he didn't allow a hit to go with six punchouts. He entered the game after the Giants took a 1-0 lead in the first, only to see the Cubs answer with a BJ Murray homer in the second to take a 2-1 lead. One inning later saw the Cubs play long ball again, with Reggie Preciado getting in on the fun to extend the lead to 4-1.

That was the beginning of the end for the Cubs as their offense went quiet the rest of the game. Not only that, but the Giants offense started to wake up, pushing across three runs in the sixth off a Vaun Brown triple, Garrett Frechette groundout, and Adrian Sugastey single to tie things up 4-4. One inning later saw Alverson Arteaga connect for his eighth homer of the season, and just like that, the Giants were on top 7-4.

The Cubs did their best to keep things close, with Rafael Morel going yard in the top of the eighth to pull within 7-5. Unfortunately, the Giants kept things rolling in the bottom of the eighth with George Bell picking up an RBI double before the Brown single to cap off the scoring in a 9-5 Giants win.

Murray Jr had his best day as a pro going a perfect 4-4 with his two-run homer in the second. Morel added a multi-hit game, with Preciado and Yeison Santana picking up the remaining hits. James Triantos and Ismael Mena suffered hitless days, with Mena striking out four times.

DSL CUBS RED 5 – DSL METS 0

It was nice not only to see the DSL CUBS Red pick up a win, but to pick up a dominating win in the process. Starlyn Picardo set the tone on the mound giving the Cubs three hitless innings before handing things off to Joel Jimenez and Anthony Martinez, who took care of the final four innings.

Offensively, runs were hard to come by early, with Brayan Altuve's fourth-inning solo homer the lone run for much of the game. That 1-0 score held until the seventh inning when the Cubs made sure to crush the Mets hopes of a comeback effort. A Luis Maza RBI triple opened the scoring before he came around to score on the Andrews Cruz double. Add in a Pedro Ramirez RBI double, and Cristian More RBI single, and the Cubs pushed across four runs in the seventh to pick up the 5-0 win.

Altuve not only provided the game-winning run with his homer, but his three hits led the way for what was a solid offensive day. Ramirez and More added two hits from the top two spots as Samuel Duarte, Maza, and Cruz rounded out the hits in the win. Moises Ballesteros continues his slide, going hitless again and seeing his average fall to .217.

DSL INDIANS 11 – DSL CUBS BLUE 8

Much like the Giants in the ACL, the Cubs are struggling to beat the Indians in the DSL, falling 11-8. Ironically, most of the Indians damage came late in the game, where they scored nine runs from the sixth inning on.

Cristian Hernandez had a day to remember doubling his season home run total from two to four in this game, with his first coming in the first to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. The Indians responded in the second with singles by Carlos Gutierrez and Yefri Rivera to put them in front 2-1 only to see Leonel Espinoza tie things up 2-2 with his fifth homer of the year.

One inning later saw the Cubs take the lead for the second time in the game, with Wally Soto picking up an RBI double ahead of the Jerry Torres single to put the Cubs in front 4-2. Still leading by two in the sixth, the Indians offense erupted for a massive inning with Jhoan Gomez single, getting things started and tying things up 4-4. After an error put the Indians up 5-4, Junior Caminero picked up an RBI single to pad the lead with the Indians in front 6-4.

Now up 7-4 after a Rivera single in the seventh, the Cubs pulled a bit close with a wild pitch pushing home their fifth run and an error leading to another run with the Cubs trailing 7-6. The Indians continued to keep the pressure on in the top of the eighth using an error to push across their eighth run before the Oscar Cedeno single and Rivera triple stretched the lead out to 11-6.

Needing offense in a hurry, Cristian Hernandez went deep for a second time in the eighth inning to pull within 11-7 before making a massive push in the ninth. With two down in the ninth, Joanfran Rojas extended the inning before walks to Offerman Hernandez, and Raul Guzman had the bases loaded. Patience continued to be the key, with Esmarly Tatis earning the third straight walk pushing across another run.

With Cristian Hernandez at the plate with a chance to come through with a massive hit, Adauri Vicente made the perfect pitch as Hernandez grounded into a game inning force out to preserve the 11-8 win. Soto continues his hot stretch at the plate, leading the way with three hits while Cristian Hernandez, Espinoza, and Rojas added two.

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