Down on the Cubs Farm: 3-1 record, Giambrone homers, Thompson twirls gem, more
Joe Camporeale - USA Today Sports

Down on the Cubs Farm: 3-1 record, Giambrone homers, Thompson twirls gem, more

by - Senior Writer -

The biggest concern in regards to the Cubs farm system is where will pitching help come from. If you followed along Friday night, strong pitching was the name of the game as the Cubs allowed a total of 8 earned runs in their four games on the evening with six coming in Triple-A. That saw the Cubs go 3-1 on the farm with plenty of strong pitching to go around.

IOWA CUBS 2 – Omaha Storm Chasers 6: Looking to make it four-straight wins, the Cubs turned to Alec Mills as he aimed to get back on track. Instead, Mills was used as batting practice for Omaha as he yielded 15 hits in his 5 1/3 innings of work. With five earned runs allowed, things could have been much worse, but the offense was held in check a majority of the night falling to Omaha 6-2.

The Cubs offense got off to a strong start as they held the lead through two innings. In the first, it was Trent Giambrone going deep for No. 8 on the season to give Iowa the quick 1-0 lead. The Storm Chasers responded with a run in the bottom of the first courtesy of a Samir Duenez double, but in the second, Iowa retook the lead 2-1 as Robel Garcia went deep for his fourth home run of the season. That would be the final run of the night for Iowa as Omaha ended the game with five unanswered runs.

Down 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth, it was Omaha coming through as they took the lead for good. With a pair of runners on base, Bubba Starling grounded one to left field for a single to tie things up 2-2. Jecksson Flores followed that up with a double as the Storm Chasers were now in front for the first time 3-2.

With it still being a one-run game entering the later innings, Omaha was looking for some much-needed insurance runs to put the game away. Look no further than the fifth inning when Humberto Artega pushed across a run with a bunt single and managed to score himself on the same play off of a throwing error from Giambrone to make it 5-2 Omaha. Duenez added another run in the bottom of the eight on a sacrifice fly as Omaha knocked off Iowa 6-2.

The Cubs fall to 29-20, but still, occupy first place in their division. The Cubs were held to just four hits in the game, with Giambrone responsible for two of those hits. Garcia and Wynton Bernard picked up the other two as the offense was silent after the first two innings. Taylor Davis and Ian Happ combined to go 0-7 with 1BB and 4K in the loss.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 5 – Pensacola Blue Wahoos 1: Behind the arms of three pitchers, the Smokies staff was near lights out as they allowed just five hits in the 5-1 win. Getting the start was Justin Steele who continues to improve as the season has gone on. Despite a no-decision effort, Steele tossed five solid innings allowing 1ER and all 5H, 1BB, and 4K. Jordan Minch picked up his fifth win (5-1) in relief despite some command issues before Craig Brooks sealed the deal.

With pitching being strong from both teams early on, it was the Blue Wahoos who managed to take the lead first. Alex Kirlloff pushed across the lone run of the game for Pensacola with a single to left for the 1-0. The Smokies responded with a run in the bottom of the fourth when a Charcer Burks triple tied things up at 1-1 before using one big inning to take control.

Heading into the bottom of the sixth with the game still tied 1-1, the Smokies were not only looking to take the lead but to add some cushion in the process. They did just that as the bats came to life in a big way. Three batters into the inning, Tennessee loaded the bases on the strength of a single, walk and an error. Gioskar Amaya kept the line moving as his single gave Tennessee the lead for good 2-1 as the bases were still loaded.

The big blow of the inning came off the bat of Ian Rice as his single to left field plated a pair of runs giving the Smokies a 4-1 lead. Following a sacrifice bunt and intentional walk to load the bases again, P.J. Higgins pushed across the fourth run of the inning with a sacrifice fly as the Smokies headed to the eighth leading 5-1. That is what the final score would end up as the pen took care of things over the final four innings for the win.

The Smokies continue to battle through adversity and move to 24-23 on the year. Jesse Hodges and Burks collected two hits in the game while Roberto Caro, Jared Young, Rice, Amaya, and Christian Donahue added one hit apiece. The Smokies also worked 6BB in the game as they had plenty of traffic on the bases.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 2 – Wilmington Blue Rocks 1: Ever improving with each passing start is Erling Moreno as he was at it again for the Pelicans on Friday. In 5 solid innings of work, Moreno yielded 1ER on just 2H with 3K. He did walk four as the command was a little bit of an issue, but what was still able to improve to (4-5) on the season as four-shutout innings from the bullpen and just enough offense gave the Pelicans a hard-fought 2-1 win.

Things didn’t get off to a positive start for Moreno as he quickly fell behind 1-0 in the first. With a walk and hit by a pitch putting runners on, Moreno didn’t even allow a hit for a run to score as a wild pitch pushed across the Blue Rocks first and only run of the game. It was the Myrtle Beach offense responding right away in the second as they had a chance for a big inning.

Singles from Cam Balego and Aramis Ademan starting things off as Grant Fennell worked a walk to load the bases with nobody out. Kevonte Mitchell stepped to the plate and brought home a run to tie things up 1-1. Mitchell was not credited with an RBI on the play as his double play ended any threat of a big inning and kept things tied.

Looking to take the lead in the fourth, the Pelicans would need a little two-out magic as Ademan started that rally with a single. Fennell and Mitchell showed great patience after that as the two of them took walks to load the bases yet again. This time it was a wild pitch that pushed across the second run of the game to make it 2-1, but once again, the Pelicans wasted a golden chance to score more runs.

Despite leaving six men on base over those two frames, that would be all the support Moreno needed as Tyler Peyton and Ryan Lawlor combined to throw four shutout innings allowing just 1H, 1BB, and 6K to preserve the 2-1 win. Lawlor picked up his first save of the season striking out five men in two innings.

Myrtle Beach continues to occupy last place in the division as they are now 18-31 for the year. Balego and Ademan hot the hand for the game with each of them picking up two hits to combine for four of the teams five hits. Miguel Amaya added the other hit after his 1-4 day, while Fennell went 0-0 with 3BB in the game.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 4 – West Michigan Whitecaps 0: There is no place like home as that was precisely the case for South Bend as the returned home following an embarrassing sweep at Fort Wayne. Taking the ball was Riley Thompson as he looked to keep his strong season going. Not only did Thompson pick up the win (3-2), he delivered his best outing of the season in the process tossing six shutout innings and allowing just 3H, 0BB and 6K. His 2.31 ERA continues to be near the top in all of the Midwest league.

After scoring just four runs in the four-game sweep to the Tin Caps, the Cubs were hoping their offense would get going in their return to home. That was the case in the second inning as Rafael Narea drove home Tyler Durna with a single for the early 1-0 lead. It was in the third inning when the South Bend bats came to life, lighting a spark for the rest of the game.

Patience was the key for South Bend in this inning as D.J. Artis and Cole Roederer started the inning with consecutive walks setting the Cubs up with a solid scoring chance. Now with one out, Jonathan Sierra loaded the bases with a single, as this was the best scoring chance for South Bend in five days. A Delvin Zinn single brought home a pair of runs to make it 3-0 before an RBI groundout from Durna capped off a three-run frame to make it 4-0 Cubs as they scored as many runs in three innings as they did the past four games combined.

That would be all the offense the Cubs would need in the game as Thompson would turn things over to the bullpen in the seventh with the score still 4-0. Two shutout innings for Jack Patterson who picked up 2K’s in his outing and a scoreless ninth from Ethan Roberts put an end to things with the Cubs getting back on the winning track 4-0.

South Bend is now 25-21 as they get ready for their final push of the first half. Narea was the lone South Bend bat with two hits, but the team collected seven hits in total. Artis, Sierra, Zinn, Durna and Eric Gonzalez all had one hit on the night. With his scoreless inning of relief, Roberts has lowered his ERA to 1.93 which is near the top for his team.

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