Cubs Minor League News: PCA crushes walk-off blast, Ballestros homers, Shaw raking, more

Cubs Minor League News: PCA crushes walk-off blast, Ballestros homers, Shaw raking, more

by - Senior Writer -

Tuesday was a jam-packed night on the diamond for the Cubs Minor League system as all seven teams were in action, with one team playing a doubleheader. That meant there were eight games to keep tabs on and nine if you count the Cubs game.

Wins were not easy to come by, however, as several teams got blown out while others struggled to find their way on the field. The overall results saw the Cubs go 2-6, as this was one of the worst nights in quite some time for the Cubs Minor League system.


Tuesday, August 16, will go down as the day Pete Crow-Armstrong arrived in AAA and made his presence known. Hours after hearing Cubs GM Carter Hawkins talk about the real possibility that Crow-Armstrong is a September call-up for this team, he proceeds to lead the Iowa Cubs to a victory with a walk-off two-run blast in extras.

With a rotation that is hurting for arms, much like the MLB rotation right now, Iowa is trying to piece together arms to get through this season, and Nick Niedert is one of those arms. The righty allowed three runs in four innings while the Cubs bullpen came in and tossed six scoreless frames. They needed to be at their best because Hunter Greene was locked in, allowing just an unearned run in five-plus innings with nine strikeouts.

Neither team was able to do anything through four innings until the Jason Vosler homer in the fourth put the Bats in front 2-0. Michael Siani would add an RBI triple later in the inning to extend the lead to 3-0, as those would be the lone runs of the day for Louisville. Trailing 3-1 in the seventh, the Cubs continued to battle back as the Chase Strumpf sacrifice fly pulled them to within 3-2.

An RBI single from Alexander Canario in the eighth tied things up 3-3, and just like that, it was a brand new ball game as this would come down to extras. With Chris Clarke taking care of Louisville in the ninth and 10th innings, it would come down to the Cubs offense to pick up the win. That they would as the Superstar PCA unloaded for his fourth AAA homer as his walk-off two-run blast lifted the Cubs 5-3.

Crow-Armstrong led the Cubs with two hits and two RBIs as the Cubs had five hits in the win. Yonathan Perlaza, Canario, and Miles Mastrobuoni added the rest to the win.


With a 7.5-game lead over Rocket City in the standings, the Smokies know how important this week is for them. A big week for them, and they can pull themselves within striking distance, making things a race the rest of the way. A big week or even a neutral week for Tennessee keeps the massive lead in the division, as they have been the team to beat in the second half.

This was a strange game, as most runs came in two innings. You had a five-run frame responsible for most of the Tennessee damage, while the Trash Pandas had a seven-run frame that provided most of their offense. Unfortunately, that seven-run frame came in the first inning as Kohl Franklin had a nightmare of a game.

He struggled with his command and was hit hard as RBI singles from Sonny DiChara and Bryce Teodosio had the Trash Pandas in front 3-0 early. Things only got worse from there as former Cubs prospect Tyler Payne laced an RBI double to make things 5-0, with Mac McCroskey capping off the scoring with another two-run single to put the Trash Pandas in front 7-0.

Given how Cole Percival was throwing early on, you had to think this game was over, but the Smokies started to battle back in the fifth. Sure, Percival still struck out seven in the game, but after tossing four scoreless frames, he was tattooed in the fifth, ending his outing with a no-decision. Levi Jordan opened the scoring for Tennessee with an RBI single, while a Haydn McGeary single pulled the Smokies within 7-3.

Later, you had Pablo Aliendo come through with a massive RBI double as he capped off a five-run fifth to pull the Smokies within 7-5. Unfortunately, that would be as close as they would get as their offense went quiet the rest of the way. The same can't be said about Rocket City as a bases-loaded triple from Jose Gomez busted things open in the sixth once again, with Rocket City up 10-5.

Jordan did manage to drive in another run in the ninth, but it wasn't near enough as the Smokies dropped the opener to Rocket City 10-6. Jordan, Aliendo, and McGeary had great nights, picking up two hits and two RBIs. However, Jordan Nwogu led the way with a rare three-hit night. Take away the start from Franklin, and the Smokie's pitching was pretty strong, especially left-hander Braylin Marquez who struck out three in two scoreless frames.


When things are going bad, they are going bad, and right now, things are bad for the Cubs. Even when they pitch well or play well, for that matter, the wins are tough to come by as a pair of late runs proved to be too much in a tight loss. Tyler Santana made the start and was about as good as he good be.

Santana gave South Bend four scoreless games, allowing just one hit and one punchout. He needed to be at his best because Wilkel Hernandez was equally as good, allowing one run in five innings with two strikeouts. The lone run of the game for South Bend came in the second inning as Moises Ballesteros unloaded for another homer.

The Cubs made that lead hold until the fifth inning when West Michigan tied things up on a bases-loaded walk by Carlos Mendoza. Two innings later saw an RBI fielder's choice put the Whitecaps in front for good while the Josh Crouch single in the eighth capped off the scoring in a 3-1 loss for the Cubs.

When you talk about a player who may fly through the system, the name Matt Shaw comes to mind as he added three more hits to raise his average to .415. Ballesteros added two more with his homer and is now hitting .301 since his High-A promotion.


Talk about a strange game. After scoring 12 runs in regulation to head to extras 6-6, both offenses exploded in the 10th. In that inning, eight runs were scored as the Pelicans came away with five runs to hold on for the win.

You would never have guessed this would be a high-scoring game judging by the pitching early, as Koen Moreno was on top of his game, striking out five in four scoreless frames to lower his ERA to 2.66. Opposing him was Henry Williams, who allowed just one run in five innings as his ERA sits at 0.90.

Leading 1-0 after Brett Bateman third-inning fielder's choice, the scorching hot Brian Kalmer extended that lead as his third homer made things 2-0 in the fourth.

Once Columbia got on the board with the Jared Dickey fifth-inning RBI hit, you could see the momentum shift, but it was in the seventh that things went south for Myrtle Beach.

With Pedro Ramirez extending the lead with an RBI double in the sixth, Kalmer answered in the seventh as his bases-loaded double brought home three more runs and pushed the Pelican's lead to 6-1. Typically this would have been enough to get the job done, but the Fireflies had other ideas in mind and used a massive five-run inning to pull even.

Trevor Werner and Dickey were responsible for the first two runs on a pair of RBI singles, while a bases-loaded walk made things 6-4. Spencer Nivens capped off the massive inning with a two-run single that brought things to 6-6 and helped force extras. With extra baseball on its way, the Pelicans offense struck first and did a ton of damage to try and put things out of reach.

The Cristian Hernandez single made things 7-6, while the Reivaj Garcia double pushed the lead to 8-6. You then had the rookie duo of Bateman and Kalmer come through again as Bateman brought home a pair with his single, followed by another RBI hit from Kalmer. The Bateman hit proved to be the game-winner as the Pelicans needed all five of those runs.

Looking to put the game away, Columbia wouldn't go away quietly, and you started to see a sense of panic in the Pelicans. Not only did a wild pitch lead to one run, but there was a bases-loaded walk and an error leading to two more as the Pelicans saw their lead diminish to 11-9. They wouldn't let it get closer as they finally finished things off to secure the win.

This game will go down as the Kalmer coming out party as he led the offense with four hits and five RBIs to raise his average to .395. Garcia, Bateman, and Jefferson Rojas added two hits from the top of the order, with Bateman driving in three additional runs.





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