Down on Cubs Farm: Iowa explodes offensively, Amaya with grand slam, Zinn's clutch, more


by - Staff Writer -
Giambrone has 18 homers for the season (Joe Camporeale - USA Today Sport)
Giambrone has 18 homers for the season (Joe Camporeale - USA Today Sport)

The Cubs continue to play .600 ball on the farm as they went 3-2 for the fourth straight night in the minors.

IOWA CUBS 12 – San Antonio Missions 2: The Cubs looked to stay hot on Saturday as they hit the road to take on a tough San Antonio ballclub. Looking to improve his fortune on the mound, Trevor Clifton (3-7) seems to have figured it out on the hill as of late as allowed just 1 ER in five innings of work to earn his second straight win as the offense backed him with plenty of support in the 12-2 win.

Already up 1-0 after a first-inning homer from Jim Adduci, the Cubs bats busted loose in the third as they put the game out of reach in that half of an inning. A leadoff Dixon Machado double ahead of an Adduci single had the first two runners on base before Mark Zagunis loaded the bases with a walk and still nobody out.

That set the stage for Phillip Evans, who with one swing of the bat cleared the bases with a double as the Cubs lead blossomed to 4-0. The bottom of the order continued to produce in this half inning with Taylor Davis, Trent Giambrone and Clifton all picking up RBI singles to stretch the lead to 7-0. Machado added an RBI groundout to cap off the seven-run frame with the Cubs now in front 8-0.

In desperate need of some offense, the Missions got on the board in the bottom of the third hoping that would jumpstart their offense. It wasn’t much, but it was something as Jake Hager went deep for his eighth homer of the season to make things an 8-1 game. San Antonio was unable to push anything else across that half of an inning as the Cubs bats continued to wreak havoc.

With a seven-run lead, all the Cubs had to do was to play simple baseball and the game should be theirs. Don’t tell that to their offense as Giambrone pounded his team-leading 18th homer in the fifth inning ahead of a Zagunis RBI double and we now had a 12-1 as Clifton’s work was done on the mound. With the Cubs bullpen now in for the final four innings, the Missions managed to pick up a run immediately in the sixth off a Lucas Erceg single, but that was it as the Cubs handled one of the best in the league 12-2.

Iowa is suddenly one of the hottest teams in AAA as they improve to 47-35 on the season. The Cubs had a trio of hot hitters at the plate as Adduci, Giambrone, and Davis all had three-hit nights at the plate. Ian Happ went 1-5 on the night as every hitter in the lineup picked up at least one hit. The bullpen was solid in their four innings of work, with Randy Rosario and Tim Collins tossing three scoreless innings.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 4 – Chattanooga Lookouts 8: With a series win already under their belt, the series with their cross-state rivals has already been considered a success. That didn’t stop the Smokies from trying to take 4 of 5 as they sent Cory Abbott to the hill. Unfortunately for the Smokies, Abbott delivered one his worst outings of the season, yielding 6 ER in less than five innings as the Lookouts doubled up Tennessee 8-4.

The Lookouts got out to an early lead taking a 1-0 lead in the second off a Scott Moss single. Third inning doubles from Mitch Nay and Tyler Stephenson pushed the Lookouts lead to 3-0 before the Smokies began to make a little bit of a rally in the fifth.

Kept quiet through four innings, the Smokies finally showed signs of life in the fifth as they crept back into the game. Roberto Caro displayed a good eye at the dish taking a leadoff walk to open the inning. Zack Short drove home the first run for the Smokies a few pitches later his first triple of the season made it 3-1. Two batters later it was P.J. Higgins picking up a sacrifice fly to cut things to 3-2. That would be as close as things would get as the Lookouts busted out in the bottom half of the fifth to seize control once again.

With one swing of the bat, Ibandel Isabel pushed the lead back to three as his double made it 5-2. Still threatening with the bases loaded, Stuart Fairchild took a walk to push the lead to 6-2 as the bases were still loaded. Fortunately for Tennessee, they were able to work out of further trouble but still found themselves down by four on the scoreboard.

Now down 7-2 after the Nay homer in the sixth, the Smokies looked to rally once more in the seventh. Caro found himself in the middle of the action yet again leading things off with a double. Two batters later it was Jared Young taking a walk as the Smokies had a pair of runners on base with one out. Higgins followed that up with his second RBI of the game as a single made it 7-3 with two men still on base. Vimael Machin added a single to load the bases, but a double play a few pitches later killed the rally with the Smokies left trailing 7-3.

Fairchild added another RBI in the bottom of the seventh to make it 8-3 before Machin picked up a ninth-inning sacrifice fly to make it 8-4. Unfortunately, the Smokies were not able to come up with the big key hit they were looking for as they dropped their second straight contest 8-4.

The Smokies are 38-41 on the season and are hoping to have Nico Hoerner rejoin the team within a week. Five multi-hit players led the Smokies with Gioskar Amaya and Machin leading the way with three hits apiece. Higgins, Short, and Caro also added two-hit games as the offense pounded out 15 hits despite scoring just four runs. Wyatt Short tossed a scoreless inning of relief to drop his ERA to 1.67 for the season.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 6 – Fayetteville Woodpeckers 4: Had the Pelicans been playing like this during the first half, they may be in contention for a playoff spot as this has been their best stretch of baseball for the season. Saturday that continued as Alexander Vargas battled through five well-pitched innings to help the Pelicans secure their fifth consecutive win 6-4.

Things did not get off to an excellent start for Vargas as he found himself down immediately in the first inning. A Jake Adams first-inning double and Enmanuel Valdez second inning single quickly had the Woodpeckers up 2-0 with Myrtle Beach coming to bat in the third. It was in that inning when everything changed as the Pelicans erupted for a huge inning to back Vargas on the hill.

Two batters in saw the Pelicans put a pair on base as both Kevonte Mitchell and Yeiler Peguero notched singles. The singles parade continued with the next hitter as Zach Davis made it a 2-1 game with an RBI knock. Davis would then steal second for his 27th of the season ahead of a one-out Carlos Sepulveda walk to load the basis ahead of Miguel Amaya. After struggling much of the first half this season, Amaya seems to be figuring it out as he delivered his biggest hit of the season with a Grand Slam to make it 5-2 Pelicans capping off the five-run frame.

With Vargas settled in on the mound and the score still 5-2 through five, the Woodpeckers knew they needed runs in a hurry if they stood any chance at coming back. They delivered in the bottom of the sixth as they crept a bit closer by chasing Vargas in the process. With one swing Fayetteville made it a one-run game as Jonathan Arauz connected for his fifth of the season bringing things to 5-4. Herron responded with a seventh-inning sacrifice fly to cap off the scoring as the Pelicans bullpen held off Fayetteville late for the 6-4 victory.

The Pelicans have now won five straight to get to 5-5 for the second half but 26-51 overall. Myrtle Beach received six hits from six different players with Amaya delivering the big blow in this one. Following Vargas on the mound was a trio of relievers as Manuel Rondon, Manuel Rodriguez and Garrett Kelly allowed just two hits in 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 4 – Dayton Dragons 3: Happy to return home, the Cubs turned to Faustino Carrera who continued his strong season on the hill. In six innings, Carrera kept things close by allowing 2 ER on 7H with 6K and 0BB to lower his ERA to 2.73 in a no-decision effort. It was Delvin Zinn coming through with a clutch hit in the eighth inning that proved to be the difference with the Cubs winning 4-3 late.

Down 1-0 after a first inning Jay Schuyler single for Dayton, the Cubs offense going in the third as they took control over the next two frames. Starting in the third, Brennan Davis brought things even at 1-1 picking up his sixth double of the season. South Bend continued to build off that momentum in the fourth as the bottom of the order came through this time around.

The Cubs had a pair of runners on base as Levi Jordan, and Marcus Mastrobuoni picked up one out single setting the South Bend offense up with a nice situation. Now with two gone, Andy Weber remained in what has been a two-week hot stretch, ripping his 15th double of the season to score a pair as it was now a 3-1 South Bend lead.

That score appeared like it was going to hold up, but in the sixth is when the Dragons began to mount their comeback finally getting Carrera out of the game after the Brian Rey single in the sixth made it 3-2. Still down by a run in the eighth, the Dragons brought things to even once again as Juan Martinez delivered the clutch RBI double to make things a 3-3 game late.

Looking for revenge after their late game let down, the Cubs offense went to work in the bottom of the eighth hoping for some positive vibes in the process. Gustavo Polanco represented the winning run as he reached with a single. Now standing on second with two outs, the Cubs were in danger of stranding him there and wasting a huge opportunity. That is when it was Zinn’s turn to play hero as his single gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead with just three outs to go. That was all South Bend needed as Ethan Roberts slammed the door in the ninth for the win.

South Bend continues to battle this season as they sit at 42-35 for the year. Zinn, Davis, Mastrobuoni, and Polanco led the way on offense for South Bend collecting two hits each in the win. Cole Roederer was held hitless going 0-4 on the night.

EUGENE EMERALDS 3 – Hillsboro Hops 4 (10 Innings): The slide continues for the Emeralds as they suffered another tough-luck set back falling to the Hops 4-3 in 10 innings. With Didier Vargas getting the ball, the Emeralds were hoping for an extended outing as their pitching hasn’t been too strong as of later. Vargas did his best to deliver but lasting just 4 2/3 innings he was unable to earn a decision before turning things over to Alex Whitney and the pen.

Eugene got off to a great start as they found themselves playing with a rare lead in the second inning. The suddenly red-hot Jake Slaughter led the inning off with a triple to put himself 90 feet away from scoring. Two pitches later Jonathan Soto got the Emeralds on the board with his third double of the year for the 1-0 lead. In danger of stranding Soto with two outs, 17-year old Reivaj Garcia rolled one to shortstop to leg it out for an infield single giving Eugene the 2-0 lead after two.

Hillsboro responded in the bottom of the third with a pair of runs of their own as Jorge Barrosa picked up the bases loaded single to bring things even 2-2. With that score still intact in the sixth, it was Eugene coming through again as they hoped this would be the run, they needed to win the game.

Fernando Kelli wasted no time getting the offense going picking up another leadoff hit to start a rally. With Edmond Americaan getting hit by a pitch ahead of a Yonathan Perlaza walk, the Emeralds had the bases loaded with no one out and their big bopper coming to the plate. Slaughter managed to get the ball in the air to pick up a sacrifice fly, but that was all Eugene picked up wasting a considerable scoring chance, but still held a 3-2 lead.

Down to their final three outs and down by a run, the Hops refused to quit as they looked for blood in the ninth. With a pair of walks to lead off the inning, the Emeralds were looking for a game-ending double play as the Hops now had one out. That is when Ricky Martinez came through to tie the game with a double giving Hillsboro a shot at the win with runners on second and third and 3-3 tie. The Emeralds were able to get the game to the 10th, but it was the Hops getting the last laugh as Barrosa picked up his second single of the day to give the Hops a 4-3 walk-off win.

Eugene is now 7-9 on the season as their losing streak continues. The Emeralds managed just five hits in the game from five different players as their offense continues to remain inconsistent. Whitney delivered his best outing of the season on the mound, tossing 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to bring his ERA to 3.86 as he was in line for the win until late.

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Tags: Trevor Clifton, Jim Adduci, Dixon Machado, Mark Zagunis, Phillip Evans, Taylor Davis, Trent Giambrone, Ian Happ, Randy Rosario, Cory Abbott, Roberto Caro, Jared Young, Vimael Machin, Gioskar Amaya, Wyatt Short, Alexander Vargas, Kevonte Mitchell, Yeiler Peguero, Zach Davis, Carlos Sepulveda, Miguel Amaya, Manuel Rondon, Manuel Rodriguez, Garrett Kelly, Faustino Carrera, Delvin Zinn, Levi Jordan, Andy Weber, Gustavo Polanco, Ethan Roberts, Cole Roederer, Fernando Kelli, Yonathan Perlaza
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