Down on the Cubs Farm: 3-2 record, Machado's grand slam, Lange struggling, more

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by - Staff Writer -
Patrick Gorski - USA Today Sports
Patrick Gorski - USA Today Sports

The farmhands had a busy night on the diamond as all four teams were in action. With a doubleheader in AAA, altogether five games took place with the system managing a 3-2 record on the night.

IOWA CUBS 0 – New Orleans Baby Cakes 7: The slide continued for the Cubs Thursday evening, as they dropped game 1 of a doubleheader 7-0. Matt Swarmer was tagged with the loss, allowing all seven of the runs in 5 2/3 innings of work. Tim Collins took over from there to finish the game out and lowered his ERA to .90 on the season.

The Cubs found themselves down big early as New Orleans jumped out to the 4-0 through three innings of work. That was mainly due to Lewis Brinson who picked up a two-RBI single in the first, before adding a solo shot in the fourth. The Baby Cakes added a solo shot in the fifth from Yadiel Rivera and a two-spot in the sixth from Monte Harrison to cap off the scoring and cruise to the 7-0 win.

Offensively, the Cubs couldn’t get much of anything going as they were held to just three hits in the game. Two of those hits came from Dixon Machado who also earned one of the teams two walks in the game. Johnny Field added the third hit for Iowa in the loss. Ian Happ was 0-3 in the game.

IOWA CUBS 5 – New Orleans Baby Cakes 2: At long last, the Cubs got back to their winning ways with a rain-shortened five-inning victory in game two of the doubleheader. Collin Rea (4-1) got back to his winning ways, going the distance in this one to lower his ERA to 2.91. The non-roster invitee this spring has been a pleasant surprise as his quest to return to the bigs has been very strong thus far.

Both of the runs Rea allowed came immediately in the first inning as once again Iowa was playing catchup. A JT Riddle double opened the scoring for the 1-0 lead before an Austin Dean single made it 2-0 in favor of New Orleans. The rest of the game was all about Rea as he silenced the Baby Cakes over the final four frames.

Despite the strong effort from Rea on the mound, the Cubs headed into the bottom of the fourth still trailing 2-0. That meant that they have gone ten innings on the day without scoring a run, but that all changed in a big hurry. Field led things off with a double and then advanced to third on a Phillip Evans single.

With one gone in the inning, Trent Giambrone got the Cubs on the board with a single to cut things to 2-1. Following an Ian Rice walk to load the bases, it was Machado coming through with the biggest hit of the game as he crushed his seventh homer of the season for the grand slam giving Iowa the 5-2 lead. The rain began to pour right after the top of the fifth inning forcing the game to be called early with the Cubs winning 5-2.

Iowa is now 25-16 but wants to get back to their consistent winning ways. Iowa had just four hits in the game, and all of them came in that five-run fourth inning.


TENNESSEE SMOKIES 3 – Jackson Generals 2: The Smokies are getting back to fundamental baseball as they have ripped off a nice string of wins as of late. That continued Thursday night as top pitching prospect Oscar De La Cruz delivered another gem on the mound for the tight 3-2 win. De La Cruz tossed 6 1/3 brilliant innings allowing just 3H to go with 2ER. Since finishing his suspension and being assigned to AA, De La Cruz has been as good as advertised, posting a 1.56 ERA in three starts.

It was the Generals who were able to strike first, using a Ramon Hernandez second-inning sacrifice fly to take a 1-0 lead. That score would hold up until the sixth inning when De La Cruz helped his cause with the bat, hitting his first homer for the 1-1 game. The Smokies continued to pile up the hits in the sixth, as Jhonny Pereda and Vimael Machin added RBI singles to give the Smokies a 3-1 lead.

A seventh-inning Hernandez homer made things a 3-2 game, but the Smokies were able to withstand the late Generals rally to get back to .500 at 20-2 following the 3-2 win. Machin raised his average to .325 with a pair of hits as he once again passed the Smokies on offense. Five other Smokies picked up hits in the game.


MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 0 – Winston-Salem Dash 6: After opening the series with two straight wins, the Dash were able to solve the Pelicans on Thursday shutting them out 6-0 on the evening. The long season continued for Alex Lange, as he fell to (1-6) after allowing five runs in 4 2/3 innings.
The Nick Madrigal first inning homer would be all the Dash needed in this one as they jumped out to the quick 1-0 lead. The Dash put the game away for good in the fourth, as a Lange wild pitch mixed with the Evan Skoug double stretched the Dash lead to 4-0.

Winston-Salem continued to add to their lead in the fifth when Craig Dedelow brought home another run with a single. Skoug capped off the scoring in the ninth with a triple as the Dash cruised to the 6-0 win. Myrtle Beach now sits at 15-26 on the season.

The Pelicans were held to just two hits in the game, as Zach Davis and Luke Reynolds were responsible for those knocks. Cam Balego picked up two walks on the evening while Jesus Carmargo tossed 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to lower his ERA to 2.52.


SOUTH BEND CUBS 7 – Dayton Dragons 2: South Bend is suddenly the hottest team in the Cubs farm system as they ripped off yet another impressive win 7-2. Eury Ramos took a step in the right direction in his start, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing just two ER in the process. It was his first win of the season as he continues to figure things out in A ball.

Both of the Dragons runs came in the fourth inning as they struck first. A Mariel Bautista double ended the scoreless draw 1-0. Brian Rey added to that lead with a sacrifice fly, and just like that, it was 2-0 Dayton. Not to be outdone, the Cubs offense also came to life in the fourth as they were eager to grab the lead.

Nelson Velazquez got South Bend on the board with his 11th double of the season as he was now in scoring position. With two men on base, Tyler Durna tied the game up at 2-2 with a single to center, moments before a wild pitch gave South Bend the lead for good 3-2. Delvin Zinn added to that lead in the fifth with a solo shot to put South Bend on top 4-2.

Zinn wasn’t finished on the evening as his big day at the plate was about to get better. Already up 5-2 and in the seventh, Zinn connected for his second homer of the game to push the lead to 6-2. Not only was it his second of the game, but those were his first two of the season. An eighth-inning infield single from Levi Jordan capped off the scoring with South Bend emerging 7-2 for the win.

South Bend is 22-16 on the season and has won seven of their last eight games. Zinn had three hits in the game as his average reaches .318 on the season. Durna was the only other Cub with multiple hits as five others added on each to account for the ten hits.

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