Chicago Cubs: Down on the Farm: 3-1 record, Russell debut, Happ and Edwards impress, more

by - Senior Writer -
Matt Kartozian - USA Today Sports
Matt Kartozian - USA Today Sports

It was a big day for the Cubs yesterday as Addison Russell took to the field in Iowa for the first time since his suspension. It was an overall very good day for the Cubs as they managed to go 3-1 in minor league play.

IOWA CUBS 6 – Nashville Sounds 4: It was a battle between the first place Cubs, and the last place Sounds Wednesday night as Iowa aimed to stay hot. With the addition of Russell now on the team, Iowa jumped out to a five-run lead early before holding off Nashville late.

Matt Swarmer was dominant in his outing lasting six innings and allowing one run on two hits with six strikeouts. He didn’t need to be at the top of his game as the Cubs gave him plenty of support early and often. The Cubs wasted no time in the first inning as two-out walks from Russell, and Phillip Evans had Iowa in business. Cristhian Adames came through with a single shortly after as the Cubs jumped out to the 2-0 lead after one.

The lone run Swarmer allowed came in the second when Matt Davidson went deep for his fifth of the season. Iowa then began to open things up in the fifth as they put Nashville in a huge hole. After a wild pitch in the fourth gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead, Adames picked up another RBI, this time via the home run as Iowa took control 4-1.

Iowa continued to pour it on in the eighth inning as Russell picked up his first RBI of the season which was followed by a Jim Adduci single giving the Cubs a 6-1 lead. Looking to close things out in the ninth, the Cubs turned to flame-throwing James Norwood. Although he struggled to get the job done serving up a three-run shot to Wille Calhoun, Norwood closed the door lifting the Cubs to the 6-4 win.

In his first game since last August, Russell went 1-4 with an RBI, one walk and one strikeout. Ian Happ reached base three times with a pair of hits and a walk, while relievers Tony Barnette and Carl Edwards Jr. each threw a scoreless inning of relief to help Iowa improve to 12-7. Edwards has allowed only one run in his last five innings through his last four outings for a 1.80 ERA.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 3 – Chattanooga Lookouts 4: Looking to hold onto first place, the Smokies closed out their homestand with an afternoon contest with the Lookouts. Despite the promising start from Zach Hedges who went five scoreless innings, it was the Lookouts late rally off of Michael Rucker that gave them the 4-3 win.

Scoring was at a premium in terms of innings as all seven runs scored came in three innings. The first of those innings happened to be the fifth where Tennessee scored all three of their runs. With one out, singles from Christian Donahue and Jared Young set the stage as the Smokies were threatening. Robel Garcia made sure to drive in at least one of those runs as his fly ball carried over the fence for his fourth of the season and 3-0 Smokies lead.

The Lookouts began to chip away at the lead in the seventh when Luis Gonzalez doubled home a pair to close the gap to 3-2. Now with the momentum leaning toward their direction, Chattanooga continued to take good hacks off Rucker taking the 4-3 lead in the eighth following an Ibandel Isabel homer for his first of the season.

Down to their last at-bats, the Smokies went down quietly as they were retired in order and suffered the 4-3 loss and all to 10-8 on the season. Donahue and Clayton Daniel led the way with two hits apiece while seven other players each added one hit for the 11-hit effort.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 3 – Carolina Mudcats 2: Looking to get back on the winning track, the Pelicans turned to Oscar De La Cruz as he continues his rehab stint. If Wednesday was any indication of how things will be going this season, De La Cruz is in for a huge year tossing six innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts in the no-decision effort. It was a late rally that lifted the Pelicans in this one as Jhonny Bethencourt delivered the walk-off RBI for the 3-2 win.

Things got going immediately, as the teams exchanged runs in the first two innings. A Tristen Lutz single in the first gave the Mudcats an early 1-0 lead before Cam Balego tied things up with a sac-fly in the second. That score would hold up until the fourth when a De La Cruz errant pickoff attempt led to another Carolina run as they took the 2-1 lead.

That lead would hold until the final inning of play as it became a battle of the bullpens the rest of the way. Down by a 2-1 score and three outs to go, the Pelicans came to bat for the what could be the final time in the game. Myrtle Beach wouldn’t go down without a fight as a leadoff walk by Tyler Payne got the inning started.

With one out in the frame, pinch runner Yeiler Peguero took second on a wild pitch which proved to be a crucial turning point in this inning. A Balego single put runners on the corners before Aramis Ademan singled home the tying run. With the bases now loaded following the Kevonte Mitchell walk, all Bethencourt needed to do was put the ball in play and the Pelicans should win. He did just that lofting a sacrifice fly to the left for the winning RBI and walk off 3-2 Pelicans win.

With the win, Myrtle Beach improves to 7-13 on the year, but 5-2 in their last seven. Miguel Amaya extended his hitting streak going 1-4 while Bethencourt and Ademan each added two hits of their own in the seven-hit effort. Balego and Jimmy Herron picked up the other two hits while Jesus Camargo picked up the win in relief.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 10 – Lansing Lugnuts 8: Once again, pitching was an issue for both South Bend and Lansing as the two teams lit up the scoreboard for 18 runs. It was the Cubs coming out on top as they get back above .500 with the 10-8 win.

After not allowing a run in his first two starts, Cam Sanders got roughed up in his four-inning outing yielding five runs with four being earned. His ERA is still solid on the season at 1.89 despite that outing. With the Otto Lopez single in the first giving the Lugnuts the 1-0 lead, Delvin Zinn tripled home Tyler Durna in the second to even the score, but a wild pitch in the bottom half of the frame gave Lansing the 2-1 lead.

South Bend continued to exchange blows in the third as the Cole Roederer single brought home D.J. Artis for the 2-2 tie. Lansing continued to retake the lead with their next at-bat as Jordan Groshans left the yard for his second time of the season putting the Lugnuts back in front 4-2.

The fourth inning continued to bring fireworks on offense as four more runs came across to score. A Zinn single in the top half of the fourth followed by a Rafelin Lorenzo double and an Andy Weber single gave the Cubs their first lead at 5-4. That lead was short lived as the Lugnuts tied things up in the bottom of the fourth on the Reggie Pruitt double and the back and forth attack was on. Looking to deliver the finishing punch, the Cubs offense erupted in the sixth as they busted the game wide open.

With Zinn being in the middle of the action once again with Lorenzo, Artis picked up his eighth double of the season for the 6-5 Cubs lead. A Roederer sacrifice fly made things 7-5 before Jonathan Sierra stretched the lead to 8-5 with his single. South Bend was not done with their offensive attack as Durna brought home Sierra with a double before Nelson Velazquez capped off the scoring with a single giving the Cubs a 10-5 lead.

At the time a five-run lead seemed plenty, but the Lugnuts offense refused to quit. With D.J. Neal cutting things to 10-6 in the bottom of the eighth with a sacrifice fly, Lansing began to make things interesting in the ninth. With Pruitt on base, Alejandro Kirk went deep for the third time this season and just like that we had a 10-8 ball game. Fortunately, Ethan Roberts was able to recover as he locked things down from them to preserve the 10-8 South Bend win.

Once again, the Cubs find themselves above .500 at 10-9 and continue to battle for the top spot just two games behind 12-7 Lake County. Zinn was a man on a mission going 5-5 with two RBI’s and a run scored as he set the tone offensively. A pair of hits from Artis, Weber, Durna, and Velazquez helped ignite a 16 hit attack while Roederer also added a team-high two RBI’s in the win.

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