Down on the Cubs Farm: Machado and Kimbrel impressive, Smokies split DH, highlights, more

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by - Staff Writer -
Machado smoked his 8th homer of the season (Rick Osentoski - USA Today Sports)
Machado smoked his 8th homer of the season (Rick Osentoski - USA Today Sports)

The Cubs had plenty of action on the farm Friday night as all five teams were in action with six games to play. Although the results were mixed going 3-3, your starting to see some players get promoted through the system and are having success at a higher level.

IOWA CUBS 5- Round Rock Express 6 (10 innings): Looking to keep a strong run of starts going, Alec Mills was back on the bump as he looked to give Iowa a fifth straight win. Mills was not as sharp as he would have liked, going six innings and allowing 4ER, but he did manage to keep his team in the game as the offense did their part to back him up. Unfortunately, it was not quite enough as the Express got to Randy Rosario in the 10th inning to pick up the 6-5 extra-inning win.

It didn’t take the Cubs too long to bust out the bats as they put up a crooked number in the second inning. With one out, Jim Adduci picked up a single as he continues to keep hitting. Robel Garcia followed that up with a walk before the second out of the inning had the Cubs in danger of stranding a pair. Dixon Machado would not allow that to happen as he connected for his eighth homer of the season giving Iowa an early 3-0 lead.

Both teams exchanged runs in the third courtesy of an AJ Reed Express homer and Ian Happ sacrifice fly to make it a 4-1 game, but it was the Express who started to get to Mills over the next few innings to get themselves right back in the game. Drew Ferguson brought the lead within 4-2 with a single in the fourth as Round Rock was starting to get some momentum going. The came full circle in the fifth when Joshua Rojas went deep for the second time of the season and just like that; we had a 4-4 game.

Fast forward to the ninth inning as it was now a battle of the bullpens, the Express continued to see the ball well as they scored their fourth unanswered run with an Alex De Goti sacrifice fly putting them on top 5-4 with Iowa down to their final outs. The Cubs made sure they wouldn’t go down quietly as Adduci led the inning off with a double setting things up for the bottom of the order.

A one-out Trent Giambrone walk put a pair of runners on base as he now represented the winning run. That brought Machado to the plate who delivered once again with a single tying things up 5-5 as the two teams headed to extras. In the 10th, it was the Express getting to Rosario as Kyle Tucker delivered the go-ahead single for the 6-5 lead. That proved to be the game-winning hit as a pair of 10th inning K’s and a groundout sealed the deal for Iowa as they fell in extras 6-5.

The Cubs still hold the first-place spot in their division with a solid 41-33 record. The Cubs had nine hits in the game with six of them coming from the trio of Adduci, Garcia, and Machado who each had a pair of hits. Machado was also responsible for Four RBI’s on the night. Both Happ and Mark Zagunis were 1-5 on the night.

In the bullpen it was Tony Barnette continuing to dominate hitters, striking out a pair in relief. Dakota Mekkes allowed the tying run in the ninth, although unearned, and Craig Kimbrel returned to the mound in the eighth throwing another scoreless frame and allowing just one hit.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 0 – Montgomery Biscuits 7 (Game 1): After rain washed them away in game one, the Smokies has a busy Friday night with a double-Header against an excellent Montgomery team. Game one was undoubtedly a game the Smokies want to erase from their memories, as they fell behind early and often to fall 7-0.

Justin Steele got a rare start, and although he didn’t last long, he pitched very well. In his three innings of work, Steele allowed just 1ER on 5H to go with a pair of strikeouts to keep things close. It was the bullpen getting rocked in this one apart from Oscar De La Cruz who worked a scoreless seventh inning.

The Smokies had a great scoring chance in the second with a pair of two outs singles off the bats of Jhonny Pereda and P.J. Higgins but were unable to push much across as their offense was quiet throughout. If it weren’t for Vimael Machin and his three-hit game, the Smokies would not have had a hit past the third inning in the loss as Montgomery made things look easy.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 3 – Montgomery Biscuits 2 (game 2): Looking for a bounce back in game two, the Smokies turned to Luis Lugo as he looked to build off his AA debut. He did just that tossing five strong innings of 2R (1ER) ball on only three hits with 3BB and 4K to pick up the win (2-0). Jordan Minch took over in the sixth to earn the two-inning save for his first of the year to put the Smokies back in the win column.

Once again, the Smokies found themselves playing catchup in the first inning as a passed ball gave the Biscuits a quick 1-0 advantage. That lead was short-lived as Tennessee finally got on the board in the second ending the stretch of eight scoreless innings to start the night.

A one-out Gioskar Amaya single got things started as Christian Donahue followed that up with a walk to put a pair of runners on base. Now with two outs, it was Connor Myers delivering the big blow clearing the bases with an RBI triple to give the Smokies the 2-1 advantage. That lead grew in the fourth inning off the bat of Jesse Hodges as his RBI double proved to be the game-winning RBI with the Smokies leading 3-1.

In the fifth, Montgomery was on the move as they appeared ready to tie things up. A leadoff home run from Jermaine Palacios cut things to 3-2 as Lugo seemed to be on the ropes. Thankfully, Lugo recovered nicely to retire the next three hitters, before Minch finished them off for the final six outs to give the Smokies a much needed 3-2 win.

Tennessee picks up their first win of the second half as they move to 34-37 on the season. The Smokies managed just five hits, coming from five different players as Myers, Hodges, Higgins, Amaya and Jared Young tallied those hits. After his 3-3 game earlier, Machin was held hitless in game two, but he still leads the team with a .319 average.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 4 – Fayetteville Woodpeckers 5: No matter what the Pelicans do, or how hard they play, the wins do not seem to translate as it has been a rough season thus far. That was indeed the case Friday as Myrtle Beach was tied heading to the ninth inning before Ben Hecht allowed a run which handed the Pelicans another tough 5-4 loss.

Getting the start was Erich Uelmen who battled through 5 2/3 innings allowing 4ER on 6H to keep his team in the game. Jesus Camargo did his job in relief tossing a scoreless 1 1/3 inning, but it wasn’t enough in the end as Fayetteville found a way to come out on top.

Down 2-0 through three innings, the Pelicans took the lead in the fourth with a huge frame as everything was finally going their way. With one down, Miguel Amaya worked another walk as he continues to see the ball well. Cam Balego got the Pelicans on the board with a double shortly after as it was now a 2-1 game.

Patience continued to be the key for Myrtle Beach as Kevonte Mitchell worked a walk to put two runners on with still just one out. That is when Aramis Ademan delivered the big blow of the inning with his fourth homer of the season as the Pelicans were now out in front 4-2 following the four-run frame.

That score would hold until the sixth inning when it appeared Uelmen was running out of gas. With the first two men of the inning retired, the Woodpeckers began to mount a rally as both Jonathan Arauz and Michael Papierski singled to put the tying runs on base. A walk to Emmanuel Valdez loaded the bases as that was all for Uelmen turning things over to Camargo. It was not a pleasant welcome for Camargo as Ruben Castro worked a full count before tying the game up with a single to make it 4-4.

With the game still tied 4-4 in the ninth inning, it was Fayetteville coming through once again as they took a late lead. Jacob Myers continues to murder Pelican pitching hitting his sixth homer of the season to make it 5-4 Fayetteville. Of those six homers, four of them have come against the Pelicans as they were down to their final three outs. Unfortunately, the Pelicans would go down in order as they dropped one late 5-4.

Myrtle Beach is sitting at 21-48 as their long season continues. The Pelicans picked up a trio of multi-hit games as Balego, Ademan and Luke Reynolds recorded six of the teams eight hits in the game. All four RBI’s came from that trio also. Amaya went 0-3 on the night but managed to draw a walk in the loss.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 1 – Bowling Green Hot Rods 0: The Cubs have been involved in so many one-run decisions that it may come in handy should they make the playoffs. Friday was another one of those contests as runs were hard to come by in this one. Led by Peyton Remy who pitched five shutout innings before turning things over to Jack Patterson (W) and Ethan Roberts (S) in the pen, the Cubs needed just one run to emerge victorious downing the Hot Rods 1-0 in a key early second-half game.

Runs were so hard to come by it didn’t happen until the sixth inning as both teams were held scoreless through five. Things didn’t look too promising for South Bend in that sixth however as their first two hitters were retired keeping the game 0-0. That is when Brennan Davis came through to start a nice rally as his double put him in scoring position with a chance for the South Bend lead. That is precisely what happened two pitches later as Tyler Durna delivered a single to plate the lone run of the game putting South Bend up 1-0.

With Patterson making quick work of Bowling Green again in the seventh, the Cubs came to bat in the bottom half of that inning and once again began to mount a two-out rally. This time it was singles from Gustavo Polanco and Eric Gonzalez that put a pair of runners on base as the Cubs were threatening once again. However, the Hot Rods managed to keep things 1-0 as Rafael Narea struck out to end the frame.

Bowling Green looked as if they were about to draw even in the eighth off Roberts, as they had a pair of runners on base after a leadoff single and two-out walk. Thankfully, Roberts was able to work around that jam, before setting them down in order in the ninth to record the save as the Cubs record their first win of the second half 1-0.

South Bend remains in the middle of the standings, but still in the playoff hunt as the second half is underway with them sitting at 38-32. The Cubs picked up just five hits in the game with five players each having one. Outside of those four mentioned above, Delvin Zinn was the fifth and final player to record a hit in the victory for the Cubs.

EUGENE EMERALDS 5 – Tri-City Dust Devils 3: The beat goes on for Eugene as they managed to push their winning streak to four games following a 5-3 win on Friday. On the mound to start was Kohl Franklin who tossed four impressive innings of shutout ball allowing just four hits with 8K. He turned things over to Blake Whitney who picked up the win in a piggyback outing before Casey Ryan earned his first save of the season by tossing two perfect innings with 3K.

The Emeralds didn’t need long to grab the lead, putting a crooked number up in the second to seize control. Danny Zardon led the inning off with a double as that was just the beginning of the hit parade. A Brandon Vicens single three pitches later had runners on the corners before Luis Diaz made it a 1-0 game with a double. As if three straight hits weren’t enough, let’s make it four when Rafael Mejia made it 3-0 with a single before the next three hitters ended the rally.

It took the Dust Devils five innings to get on the board, on a Matthew Acosta RBI groundout, but once that run came across you could see the confidence build in their offensive approach. That confidence came full circle in the seventh as Tri-City not only rallied back but did so to tie the game off Whitney. Once again, it was Acosta finding himself in the middle of the action, dropping down what looked to be a harmless sacrifice bunt. However, a throwing error from Whitney allowed a pair of runs to score making it 3-3 before Acosta was out trying to stretch it out to third.

Once again, the tie game was short lived as it was the Emeralds turn to tag the Dust Devils bullpen in the bottom of the seventh. Caleb Knight delivered the game-winning RBI with his first homer of the season as the Emeralds were back in front 4-3. Eugene pushed the lead to 5-3 the very next inning on a Dalton Hurd ground-rule double, as Ryan finished things off in the ninth to give the Emeralds another win 5-3.

Eugene is now 5-3 on the season and has won four straight games. The Emeralds had a balanced offensive attack as eight of the nine players in the lineup had at least one hit with Diaz picking up a pair in the win. Yonathan Perlaza was the lone Emerald not to reach base in the game. With another hit added to his season total, Jake Slaughter is now hitting a .323. Knight leads the team at .350.

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Tags: Alec Mills, Randy Rosario, Jim Adduci, Robel Garcia, Dixon Machado, Ian Happ, Trent Giambrone, Mark Zagunis, Tony Barnette, Dakota Mekkes, Justin Steele, Oscar De La Cruz, Jhonny Pereda, Vimael Machin, Luis Lugo, Jordan Minch, Gioskar Amaya, Christian Donahue, Connor Myers, Jesse Hodges, Jared Young, Ben Hecht, Jesus Camargo, Miguel Amaya, Cam Balego, Kevonte Mitchell, Aramis Ademan, Luke Reynolds, Peyton Remy, Ethan Roberts, Tyler Durna, Gustavo Polanco, Eric Gonzalez, Rafael Narea, Delvin Zinn, Casey Ryan, Caleb Knight, Yonathan Perlaza
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