Cubs Minor League News: Canario homers, Horton impressive, Rojas blasts grand slam, more

Cubs Minor League News: Canario homers, Horton impressive, Rojas blasts grand slam, more

by - Senior Writer -

Although the Cubs were unable to produce at the same level from earlier in the week, you have to understand how hard that was going to be. It isn't very often when a team wins 11 out of 12 games over the course of a two-day minor league schedule, and the Cubs were on fire to begin the week.

Then came Thursday, where a bit more struggles fell into play, forcing the Cubs to scratch and claw a bit more. They still managed to pick up a 3-3 record on the night as their incredible week of competition continues to bring optimism to fans everywhere.


Heading into the 2023 MLB season, RHP Adrian Sampson was coming off his best season as a pro and was expected to compete for the No. 5 spot in the rotation. Then came his rough spring, followed by a knee injury that required surgery, and Sampson hasn't been the same.

Not only has he struggled all season which continued Thursday when he allowed six earned runs in just 2 2/3, but he is officially off of the 40-man roster leaving his future in question beyond this season. Ryan Jensen, Baily Horn, and Chris Clarke all pitched well in relief, but when you put your team in an early 6-0 hole, it is hard to come back from.

Memphis came out of the gates on fire as a pair of first-inning homers from Richie Palacios and Masyn Wynn gave them an early 2-0 lead, with Matt Koperniak making things 3-0 with his RBI single. Like Koperniak, Luken Baker has had a big series this week, and that continued in the second as his RBI gave Memphis the commanding 5-0 lead as Sampson was getting rocked early. The Redbirds capped off their scoring in the third on a wild pitch as they opened up a 6-0 lead early.

Despite Sampson's struggles on the mound, the Cub's pen was outstanding as they held the Redbirds scoreless for six innings despite some command issues. That gave the high-powered Iowa offense a chance to battle back, but it took six innings for them to score as Alexander Canario belted his first homer of the season to dead center to make things 6-2.

That score would hold until the ninth when the Cubs started to threaten again. First, David Bote came through with an RBI double to make things 6-3. Yonathan Perlaza followed that up with a single to cut the lead to 6-4 and brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Edwin Rios. Unfortunately, Rios couldn't finish the job as he went down on strikes to end the game. The Cubs had eight hits in the win, with Bote leading the way with three. He is hitting .282 for the season and has quietly put together a great year.


Rocket City has been known to give the Smokies problems the past two seasons, but for the most part, Tennessee has taken care of them this week. On the verge of going 3-0 against them to begin this series, Brailyn Marquez picked a bad time to have his worst outing of the season, as a three-run seventh inning was the difference in the 5-3 loss.

An outing like that was bound to happen, but it took away from a tremendous combined effort for Chris Kachmar and Joe Nahas, as they combined to allow just two runs through six innings. They needed to be on top of their game as Victor Mederos battled through six innings and allowed three runs while striking out eight.

The thing about Mederos in this one was that he got stronger as the game went on, with all three of his earned runs coming in the first. Bradlee Beesley opened the scoring with a two-run single, with Cole Roederer adding a second single later on to give the Smokies a 3-0 lead. Little did they know that would be their lone offense the rest of the way as the Trash Pandas finally cooled them off.

Despite being given a nice cushion before even stepping on the mound, Kachmar was not at his best early and promptly allowed a Tucker Flint single in the bottom of the first, which brought home a run while a fielder's choice made things 3-2. Apart from that, Kachmar settled in to minimize the damage while Nahas followed suit to keep the Smokies in front.

Still holding their 3-2 lead in the seventh, it was time for Marquez to step back on the mound as his season has been better than expected up to this point. Everyone is bound to have a bad outing from time to time, and this was the time for Marquez to have one as Jeremiah Jackson came through with the game-winning single to put Rocket City up 4-3 with a bases-loaded walk capping off the scoring in the Smokies 5-3 loss.


Despite having a rough go of things to end the first half and opening the second half the same, South Bend is starting to put it together as they try to pull themselves into the second half race. Having a guy like Cade Horton certainly helps, as he was up to his old tricks on Thursday.

Despite only lasting four innings, they were four perfect innings as he held the Chiefs scoreless without allowing a baserunner and struck out five.

"I felt good early and I settled in right away," Horton told reporters after the game. "I thought I did a nice job tonight."

He gave way to Max Bain, who tossed two perfect frames with four strikeouts as the Cubs struck out 10 and allowed just one hit in the win. It didn't take long for the Cubs to grab the lead as Kevin Made ripped an RBI double down the line for the early 1-0 lead.

Given how well Horton and Bain were pitching, that 1-0 lead was looking like it would up as that was the Cubs only run until late in the game. Still holding that 1-0 lead in the seventh, Fabian Pertuz came through with a massive RBI double to extend the Cubs lead to 3-0. Peoria immediately responded in the bottom of the seventh as an RBI grounder put them on the board and ended the shutout bid.

Yohendrick Pinango capped off the scoring for South Bend in the top half of the eighth with his fifth homer as the Cubs have taken all three games to start the series. The Cubs were led by a trio of three multi-hit games from Ezequiel Pagan, Made, and Christian Franklin.


Coming off one of their more frustrating weeks of the second half, the Pelicans used it to light their fire and have taken their anger out on the Nationals this week. Not only have the Pelicans won all three games thus far, but most of them have been in dominating fashion, including another 12-0 win Thursday.

Luis Rujiano continued to make strides as a starter this season and gave the Pelicans four shutout innings with three strikeouts to set the tone. Apart from him, it was all about the offense as they came to play in a big way. After Andy Garriola gave the Pelicans a 1-0 lead with a groundout in the first, it was up to Rujiano to keep things that way, as that was the only run scored until the fifth inning.

Once that fifth inning rolled around, the Pelican's offense went ballistic as they scored 11 times across the next three innings, six coming in the fifth. An Ismael Mena double and Garriola homer led to two of those runs, but the Grand Slam from Jefferson Rojas busted the game open to give the Pelicans a 7-0 lead. For Rojas, it was his second grand slam in nine days, and he continues to impress.

Immediately following that massive fifth inning, the Pelicans offense returned to work and pushed across four more runs to extend the lead to 11-0 in the sixth. An error led to the first run and opened the floodgates for what was to come. That was followed by RBI singles from Reivaj Garcia, Cristian Hernandez, and Garriola as the Pelicans were making a mockery of the Nationals and their staff.

Mena continued to be in the middle of everything in the seventh as his RBI single capped off the scoring in a 12-0 win for the Birds.

Guardiola has already had a massive series, which continued with another three hits and three more RBIs. Rojas added two hits and four RBIs, with Mena adding two.




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