Down on Cubs Farm: Garcia homers, Abbott makes history, SB walks off Lansing, more


by - Staff Writer -
Daniel Bartel - USA Today Sports
Daniel Bartel - USA Today Sports

Overall it was a painful 2-4 showing on the farm Wednesday night but several teams continued to remain in the playoff hunt. Two of those teams even bettered their playoff chances with wins as the final two weeks of the season should be fun.

IOWA CUBS 4 – San Antonio Missions 9: After cooling off one of the best teams in AAA the first two games, the Missions got rolling on Wednesday knocking off the Cubs 9-4. After earning his first two wins at Iowa, Tyson Miller suffered the setback in this one, tossing five innings and allowing four runs on five hits as the offense was held in check until late.

Iowa did manage to grab the lead first however in the third inning as Albert Almora busted down the first baseline to force a throwing error making it 1-0 Cubs. That lead held up until the fifth inning when San Antonio finally got to Miller. Cory Spangenberg continues to crush AAA pitching as his 28th double made things 1-1. Travis Shaw delivered the big blow later that inning with his fourth homer to put the Missions on top for good 4-1.

Shaw was just getting started as he connected for his second three-run shot of the game and 11th homer of the season in the seventh as the Missions were now in front 7-1. Tyrone Taylor added a two-run shot in the ninth to push the lead to 9-1 before Iowa tried to rally late. Down by eight and with just three outs to go, Iowa refused to go down without a fight as one swing from Robel Garcia made things more respectable as his 17th blast of the season made it 9-4. That was it for Iowa unfortunately as they fell to a record of 68-60 but comfortably remain in first.

The Cubs managed just five hits in the contest with Garcia doing the most damage with that homer. Dixon Machado, Phillip Evans, David Bote, and Miller grabbed the teams other four hits in the loss. Daniel Descalso and Albert Almora both went hitless.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 0 – Jackson Generals 2 (game 1): With Tuesday’s game getting suspended in the third 0-0 the two teams picked things up Wednesday with Jackson earning the 2-0 win. With Cory Abbott tossing three shutout innings on Tuesday, he was unable to continue Wednesday despite making history in the process. With his three-strikeout performance, Abbott surpassed the 150-strikeout mark for the season becoming the first Cubs minor leaguer to top that feat in 13 years.

Offensively, Tennessee was held in check as they were not only shut out but tallied just six hits in the loss. The Generals got both of there runs in the sixth and seventh innings as the Seth Beer homer in the sixth and Ryan Grotjohn seventh-inning single would be all they needed in the 2-0 win.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 3 – Jackson Generals 7: Following a quiet showing in their suspended game, Tennessee got off to a hot start later in the evening only to putter out late falling 7-3. With their record now sitting at 51-77, the Smokies have not only been eliminated from playoff contention but occupy the worst record in the Cubs system.

Erich Uelmen continues to flash his potential on the mound as he took the ball for a start in this one. Though he lasted just 4 1/3 inning allowing three runs, Uelmen continues to adjust in AA as things have not been as smooth at this level. He was backed by some early run support in the third inning when Eddy Martinez got Tennessee on the board with a fielder’s choice ahead of an Ian Rice RBI double and a 2-0 lead.

Daulton Varsho closed the gap to 2-1 in the bottom of the third with his 17th smash of the season before Tennessee responded in the fourth. This time it was Jared Young coming through with an RBI double extending the lead to 3-1. Zack Short was thrown out at home on the same play preventing the Smokies from scoring more runs.

The long ball continued to be a problem for Uelmen in the fifth inning as Pavin Smith took him deep for his 11th of the season to tie things up 3-3. It was in the bottom of the sixth when Jackson took the game over with Michael Rucker taking the beating. First Varsho delivered the game-winning RBI with a soft single to the outfield.

That was followed by a Smith single and Ramon Hernandez sacrifice fly to put Jackson up 6-3. The Generals capped off the four-run inning with another RBI single off the bat of L.T. Tolbert taking a 7-3 lead to the seventh. That would be all the offense Jackson would need as the Smokies went down in order in that seventh inning to drop both contests with a 7-3 loss.

Short did his part on offense, going a perfect 3-3 at the plate in the losing effort. He was the lone Smokie with multiple hits as six others recorded one hit on the evening. Nico Hoerner was 0-3 with a walk in the leadoff spot as his average is back up to 268 on the season.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 4 – Carolina Mudcats 1: At 52-73, not many people would think twice about the Pelicans chances to make the playoffs. Well, for Myrtle Beach and their fans, they still have a shot at postseason play as they improve to 31-27 in the second half and close within 3.5 games of first following a 4-1 win.

Jeffrey Passantino (2-1) got back to work and was once again impressive on the mound. In his five-inning start, Passantino allowed just one run on four hits to go with no walks and five strikeouts. With the win, his ERA falls to 2.10 for the year as he continues to impress in the system.

The lone run Passantino allowed came in the top of the third inning when Wes Rodgers came through with a sacrifice fly and early 1-0 Carolina lead. That would be all the offense they would account for in the game as the Pelican's arms continue to pitch well. Grant Fennell was able to draw even in the bottom of the third as his single tied things up 1-1.

Moving to the fourth, it was Kevonte Mitchell giving the Pelicans the lead for good as his 13th homer of the season provided the winning runs with Myrtle Beach now in front 3-1. That score would hold up until the eighth when Jhonny Bethencourt capped off the scoring with a sacrifice fly to give the Pelicans a 4-1 lead. Ethan Roberts finished things off from there striking out three and earning the two-inning save for his fourth of the season.

Bethencourt was part of a bottom of the order that was on fire as went a perfect 3-3 at the dish. Mitchell added two hits of his own from the nine-spot joining Fennell with a multi-hit effort. Those three also accounted for all four runs in the game. Miguel Amaya was held hitless in the ball game. Following Passantino on the mound, the Pelicans got two shut out frames from both Ryan Lawlor, and Roberts as the two of them lowered their ERA’s to 2.45 and 2.08 respectively.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 3 – Lansing Lugnuts 2: Looking to great some distance in the wild card hunt, the Cubs faced off with Lansing with crucial playoff implications on the line. After being held in check most of the game, South Bend rallied for a pair of late runs to improve to 70-56 as they walked off the Lugnuts 3-2. The win also moved South Bend into sole possession of second place at 33-25 in the second half as they now have a three-game lead over Lansing for that wildcard spot.

Zach Mort continues to show why going to Eugene for about two months was good for him as he has been a completely different pitcher since his return. In another solid 5 2/3 inning outing, Mort kept his team close allowing just two runs on seven hits to go with one walk and four punchouts. The pen took care of the rest by keeping Lansing off the board to give the offense a chance.

Both runs Mort allowed came in the third inning as it was Lansing grabbing the early lead. With a runner on base, Yorman Rodriquez ripped his fifth double of the year over Cole Roederer’s head to put the Lugnuts up 1-0. A few batters later saw Gabriel Moreno bring him home extending the lead to 2-0. Not to be outdone, South Bend responded with a run in the bottom of the third as Darius Hill cut things to 2-1 following a fielder’s choice RBI.

With Eugenio Palma keeping Lansing in check following Mort’s exit, the Cubs were able to tie things up in the eighth inning as Clayton Daniel brought home a run on a double-play grounder. Unfortunately, Daniel was not credited with an RBI as South Bend wasted a chance at a big inning. One inning later and down to their final three outs, it was time for Nelson Velazquez to play hero as he connected for his third homer of the year to deliver the walk-off win 3-2 for the Cubs. Their magic number to make the postseason shrinks to eight games.

South Bend was out hit 8 to 7 in the game with Rafelin Lorenzo leading the way with two hits. Hits from Jake Slaughter, Fidel Mejia, Velazquez, Andy Weber, and Daniel accounted for the teams other five tallies. Cole Roederer went 0-3 while slugging outfielder Brennan Davis remains out with a wrist injury. Brian Glowicki earned the win in relief as he now sports a 1.57 ERA.

EUGENE EMERALDS 0 – Hillsboro Hops 8: For the second straight night the Emeralds failed to get anything going offensively as they were held to just three hits again in the 8-0 loss. Eugene is now 14-14 in the second half and 30-35 for the year.

Making just his second start of the season for Eugene Yovanny Cruz was walloped allowing six runs on five hits in only three innings of work. That put the Emeralds in a huge hole that they were not able to recover from. Up 2-0 in the third after the Eddie Hernandez first-inning homer and second inning wild pitch, Hillsboro busted things wide open in the third sending a message to Eugene in the process.

Andy Yerzy was able to double the Hops advantage from 2-0 to 4-0 as his single opened what was a big inning. Dominic Canzone followed that up with a single of his own to make it 5-0 before Kevin Lachance brought home another run with a sacrifice fly capping off a four-run inning with a 6-0 advantage.

Hillsboro was not done scoring yet, however, as Lyle Lin pushed the lead to 7-0 in the sixth with another RBI hit. A Lachance double in the seventh made things 8-0 which happened to be the final tally as the Emeralds offense has looked lost at the plate against the Hops in this series.

Edmond Americaan, Alexander Guerra and Jake Washer tallied the three hits for Emeralds in this one as the offense struck out a ridiculous 17 times also. Jake Reindl was the lone reliever not to yield a run in the contest, as he tossed two perfect frames with a pair of strikeouts to bring his ERA to 1.00.

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