Down on Cubs Farm: Mills leads the way, Edward's rehab, Emeralds fall in extras, more

Down on Cubs Farm: Mills leads the way, Edward's rehab, Emeralds fall in extras, more

by - Senior Writer -

The Cubs continue to be competitive despite a 2-3 record Monday, as most of their games went down to the final inning of play.

IOWA CUBS 5 – San Antonio Missions 3: Continuing with their series against one of the leagues best, Iowa leaned on Alec Mills who continues to impress over the past month of the season. After missing the start of the year due to injury, Mills has been on top of his game as of late, and that continued Monday as Mills (5-2) went seven innings strong allowing just 1R (0ER) on 4H with 1BB and 7K to lift the Cubs to the 5-3 win.

After a scoreless first, the Cubs packed Mills with all the run support he needed right away in the second inning. Robel Garcia opened the scoring with double to center field before Mills helped himself with a single and 2-0 Iowa advantage. San Antonio managed to get one of those runs back in the third as a passed ball by Taylor Davis allowed Trent Grisham to come up with a single to make it a 2-1 ball game.

Iowa continued to pad their lead as the game went on with Phillip Evans pushing the lead to 3-1 in the fifth with his 11th homer of the season. It wasn’t until the eighth inning when the winning knock was delivered as Davis made up for his earlier error with two-run shot putting Iowa up 5-1. The Missions managed to push across a pair of runs late, but it wasn’t enough as Iowa takes game three 5-3.

Both Jim Adduci and Davis led the way offensively as the duo picked up two hits each in the win. The Cubs picked up four more hits in the game with Mark Zagunis continuing to crush the ball bringing his average to 330. Ian Happ fell under 220 for the season with a rough 0-5 game, and it has become clear that he is having a tough go of it. The Cubs did receive good news on their injury front as Carl Edwards Jr made a rehab appearance for Iowa lasting just 1/3 of an inning and allowing an unearned run.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 4 – Birmingham Barons 5: A common theme for Tennessee as of late has been poor bullpen performances. Monday, the Smokies tried a different approach as they went with a bullpen game using four different pitchers against the Barons. After holding the fort down for seven innings, the Smokies let one get away late falling to the Barons 5-4.

Birmingham got out of the gates quick in this one as they picked up a pair of runs in their first two plate appearances of the day. A first inning Gavin Sheets single added with a Nick Madrigal second inning single had the Barons up 2-0 before the Smokies came to bat. Wynton Bernard ended the shutout bid with one swing as he connected for his first homer of the season to make it a 2-1 game. Zack Short would later add a sacrifice fly to score Connor Myers as the Smokies drew even 2-2.

The back and forth atmosphere continued in the fourth inning with Blake Rutherford giving the Barons the lead once again 3-2 with another single. However, the Smokies would respond in the bottom half of the inning when Bernard came through again with a double to make it a 3-3 ball game. Myers gave the Smokies the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, catching the defense off guard with a bunt single to put Tennessee up 4-3.

Still, up by a run heading into the eighth, the Smokies bullpen was hoping to finish things off after pitching well all game long. Unfortunately for them, it was not meant to be as Laz Rivera connected for a massive two-run single off Wyatt Short to give Birmingham the lead late as they managed to hold on for a 5-4 win over Tennessee.

The Smokies have fallen back to 38-43 as they are in the middle of a four-game skid. Bernard had a career night for Tennessee going 3-3 with an HR and 2RBIS. Myers, Jhonny Pereda, and Vimael Machin all added two hits in the game as they contributed for nine of the teams 11 hits. Ben Hecht was the only pitcher not to allow a run in the game, as he went two scoreless innings in the loss.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 4 – Carolina Mudcats 1: A new month meant a new series for the Pelicans as they turned to the Cubs No. 18 prospect Paul Richan on the mound. Richan (8-3), indeed showed why he is regarded as one of the better arms in the system, tossing seven strong innings of one-run ball and matching a career high with nine strikeouts to earn the win. The most incredible stat was that he only needed 53 pitches to get through seven innings.

Since the start of the second half, Myrtle Beach has done a much better job scoring runs, and that continued in the first inning on Monday. With the speed of Zach Davis wreaking havoc on the bases yet again, Carlos Sepulveda was able to get the Pelicans on the board as his sacrifice fly made it a 1-0 game. Carolina made sure that lead was short-lived, Trevor Morrison tied things up 1-1 in the second with his second double of the year.

The Pelicans grabbed the lead for good in the second inning by putting plenty of pressure on the bases. That paid off in the end with Davis delivering the game-winning RBI with a groundout, before an error allowed Jimmy Herron to reach base to make it a 3-1 Pelicans lead. The Pelicans lead grew in the fifth inning when another error allowed Grant Fennell to reach base as Myrtle Beach was in control 4-1.

That would be all the offensive support the Pelicans would need as Richan delivered what might be his best performance of the season before the bullpen closed things out for another Myrtle Beach win 4-1. The Pelicans continue to play with confidence in the second half despite their record sitting at 27-52 for the season.

Despite scoring four runs in the contest, the Pelicans managed just two hits as Fennell and Kevonte Mitchell tallied both those hits. All four of those runs were either unearned or picked up without the strength of a hit as the Pelicans did what they had to do to win. Miguel Amaya was 0-2 on the day but managed to take a walk.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 2 – Dayton Dragons 6: Looking for a series sweep over Dayton; South Bend sent their all-star Riley Thompson to the hill looking to keep his strong season going. Although Riley didn’t pitch horribly in five innings, allowing 3ER, it was the offense that was held at bay most of the night with the Dragons avoiding the sweep 6-2.

Already up 1-0 after the first inning Miles Gordon homer, Dayton stretched their lead out in the fourth inning as South Bend was searching for answers early. A Brian Rey double mixed with a Thompson wild pitch pushed a pair of runs across as the Dragons were in front 3-0 early.

The Cubs managed to claw back into the game over the next two innings as they were hoping to ride that momentum for some more home cooking. Andy Weber remained red-hot at the plate, connecting for an RBI double in the fourth to put the Cubs on the board 3-1. A Marcus Mastrobuoni single in the fifth brought things within one as South Bend was right back in it 3-2.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, that was about all their offense could do as the Dragons put the game away in the sixth with another Rey RBI combined with a Miguel Hernandez single to make it a 5-2 game. Juan Martinez connected for his fifth homer of the season in the eighth inning to cap off the scoring as the Dragons silenced the Cubs 6-2.

South Bend is now 43-36 following the loss but does remain in the thick of the playoff hunt at this moment. The Cubs received a pair of hits from both Weber and Mastrobuoni as they picked up both RBI’s in the win. Delvin Zinn, Tyler Durna and Jonathan Sierra rounded out the hits for South Bend.

EUGENE EMERALDS 9 – Tri-City Dust Devils 10 (10 innings): What will it take for Eugene to get off the long dry spell and win some more ball games. After scoring nine runs on Monday, that would generally be plenty for an offense struggling to get things done at the dish. Unfortunately, it was the pitchers turn to led them down as they yielded ten runs in a 10-9 extra-inning defeat.

With the Emeralds up 1-0 in the second courtesy of a Brendon Vicens sacrifice fly, the Dust Devils took control with a five-run second of their own. The big hit in that frame came off the bat of Jordy Barley as he delivered a bases-loaded double to put Tri-City up 3-1. The Dust Devils added two more runs that half of an inning to take a commanding 5-1 lead.

That rough inning didn't phase Eugene as their offense was ready to go in the third. It was Jake Slaughter getting in on the RBI fun, lacing a single to right to make it a 5-3 game. Once again, Tri-City was ready to go in the bottom half of the third as an Alison Quintero single mixed with a wild pitch saw the Dust Devils lead increase to 7-3 yet again.

The Emeralds refused to give up as Jonathan Soto made it a 7-5 game with a single in the top of the fifth. Now down 9-5 in the seventh, Edmond Americaan continued the comeback bid as his single made it a 9-6 game before the Emeralds closed within 9-7 on a wild pitch. Still, in the seventh, Jose Gutierrez brought things within one 9-8 with a single before Eugene fought back to tie things up 9-9 as a second Dust Devil wild pitch was the difference.

Despite their late-game meltdown, Tri-City managed to get the last laugh when Kelvin Melean delivered the walk-off run as a fielding error by Luis Diaz sealed Emerald's fate in a tough 10-9 defeat. The loss was not just the second consecutive extra-inning loss, but it now makes seven in a row for Eugene as they are sitting at 7-11 now.

Each team had 12 hits in the game, but it was Americaan and Slaughter carrying the offense as they each tallied three hits in the loss. Gutierrez added two hits of his own, while four other players picked up one including Fernando Kelli. Pitching was not a strong suit in this one unless you were Jesus Tejada. In his three innings of relief, Tejada allowed 0ER on just 1H while striking out three hitters in the process.

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