Bombs Away! … As the longball proved to be the theme to start the week in the minor leagues. Kane County was the only team not to hit a home run, but won two out of three thanks to the clutch hitting of Ben Carhart. Daytona has taken six out of their last eight games and saw Marco Hernandez leave the park in a victory on Wednesday. Kris Bryant leads the Southern League in home runs as he socked his 12th of the season on Wednesday night, with Wes Darvill also getting into the act. In Iowa Luis Flores, Arismendy Alcantara, Javier Baez, and Christian Villanueva (twice) all went deep to start the week.
So if you’re sitting in the bleachers, bring your glove and a copy of today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Editor’s Note: Monday’s report covers games from Thursday to Sunday. Thursday’s report covers games Monday through Wednesday.
Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (30-16)
Rain on Monday in Wisconsin meant a doubleheader on Tuesday as Kane County was thrashed in the opener 11-1 by the Timber Rattlers. Juan Carlos Paniagua was battered for three earned runs in three innings, while he struck out two batters. Gerardo Concepcion was rocked by Wisconsin and gave up five earned runs in 0.2 innings. Recently promoted to the Cougars, Zak Hermans received a baptism of fire as he surrendered three earned runs and struck out a batter in 2.1 innings. The only run for Kane County came in the fourth inning when Ben Carhart (2-for-3) singled, went to third on a double from Will Remillard (1-for-2 with a double), and scored on a groundout.
With all the scoring in game one, it seems as if both teams were a little tired in game two as it went scoreless for eight innings until the Cougars nudged across a run in the ninth and beat Wisconsin 1-0. Justin Amlung, starting for the second time in his last three appearances, went seven scoreless innings. Amlung allowed three hits and struck out five with no walks. James Pugliese continued the policy of no free passes in his two innings as he struck out a batter and came home with the victory. Carlos Penalver (1-for-3 with a double and a stolen base) walked with two outs in the top of the ninth and stole second base. A single by Ben Carhart (1-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Penalver.
Kane County brought their offense to the park on Wednesday as the Cougars defeated Wisconsin 8-2. The scoring started right away after Ben Carhart (3-for-4 with a double and an RBI) doubled with two outs and scored on a triple by Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-5 with a triple and an RBI). Jacob Rogers (0-for-2) drew a walk to begin the second inning and was bunted to second. Rogers scored on a double from Danny Lockhart (2-for-3 with two double and two RBI). Jacob Hannemann (2-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base) led off the third inning with a single, stole second and scored on a single off the bat of Carhart. The Cougars loaded the bases to start the sixth inning on singles by Carlos Penalver (2-for-5 with an RBI) and Balaguert sandwiched around a walk to Carhart. A base hit by Will Remillard (1-for-4 with two RBI) plated Penalver and Carhart. A walk to Rogers re-loaded the bases and Balaguert scored on a sacrifice fly. Kane County added two in the ninth when Lockhart doubled and scored on a single by Hannemann. A base hit from Penalver drove in Hannemann.
Duane Underwood was virtually untouchable as he allowed two hits and walked four in five scoreless innings while striking out five batters. Corbin Hoffner made his Cougars’ debut and gave up two earned runs with three strikeouts in two innings. Tyler Bremer tossed the last two innings with four strikeouts while not allowing a run.
High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (16-26)
Daytona received some great pitching and timely hitting in a Monday morning game as they beat Fort Myers 4-2. Yao-Lin Wang put together his best effort of the season as he tossed five scoreless innings and struck out four batters. In his first action for the D-Cubs, lefty Nathan Dorris gave up two earned runs with two strikeouts in 2.2 innings and earned his first victory. Austin Reed has been pitching better of late and he worked around a hit and a walk in 1.1 innings to collect his second save.
The Daytona offense hit the ground running as Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI) walked and Zeke DeVoss (1-for-5 with a double) doubled to put runners on second and third in the first inning. Chen scored on a wild pitch. The seventh inning saw the D-Cubs tie the score after Willson Contreras (2-for-3 with two RBI) singled and went to second on an error. A double by Chen plated Contreras. In a bizarre sequence in the eighth, Albert Almora (2-for-5) singled and moved to second after Jeimer Candelario (0-for-4) reached on an error. Almora was then caught stealing third and Candelario took second. Tim Saunders (0-for-2) then made it to first on an error with Candelario advancing to third. A walk to Rock Shoulders loaded the bases and a single by Contreras drove in Candelario and Saunders.
The D-Cubs took their victories where they could, but in the end wound up losing 3-1 to Bradenton on Tuesday. The biggest victory of the evening was starter Rob Zastryzny taking the mound for the first time since being stuck on his pitching elbow by a batted ball on May 7. Zastryzny pitched two perfect innings and struck out two batters. Michael Jensen came on in the third and was nicked for two unearned runs with a strikeout in three innings. Steve Perakslis was also a victim of poor defense as he went three innings and fanned one while giving up an unearned run. Daytona managed five hits … Pin-Cheih Chen (2-for-3), Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4), Chadd Krist (1-for-4), and Rock Shoulders (1-for-4).
You can consider Daytona to be on a mini-roll as they were winners in six of their last eight games with a 4-2 victory over Bradenton on Wednesday morning. It was the Daytona debut for newly promoted lefty Tyler Ihrig. Ihrig allowed two earned runs with three strikeouts in four innings. Trevor Graham also made his Daytona debut and received his first victory after he struck out four in 3.2 scoreless innings. Andrew McKirahan picked up the last four outs, two on strikeouts, and earned his third save.
Behind 2-0 in the top of the fifth, Willson Contreras (2-for-4 with a double) and Gioskar Amaya (3-for-4 with a double and an RBI) reached on one out singles. Contreras scored on a double from Marco Hernandez (2-for-4 with a double, a home run, and three RBI). Daytona took the lead in the seventh when Amaya led off with a double and scored on Hernandez’s first home run of the season. It was the bottom of the order again in the ninth as Contreras doubled and touched home on a single by Amaya.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (24-21)
Tennessee had a pitcher flirt with a no-hitter on Monday as they defeated Mississippi 3-1. Pierce Johnson exited afterreaching 47 pitches but went four no-hit innings and struck out two batters. Tony Zych made the Smokies nervous as he allowed an earned run in two innings. Arodys Vizcaino provided a bridge as he had a strikeout in a scoreless inning. Armando Rivero went the rest of the way and fanned two in two innings to pick up his eighth save.
There was no score in the game until the fifth inning when Anthony Giansanti (1-for-3) and Wes Darvill (2-for-3) reached on one out singles and scored on a Kris Bryant (1-for-1 with a double and two RBI) pinch-hit double. Tennessee added a run in the seventh when Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-4) led off with a single and was bunted over to second base. A base hit by Darvill put runners on the corners and Ha scored on a sacrifice fly.
It was one of those nights for Tennessee on Wednesday as the Smokies lost 17-7 to Mobile. Starter Joel Pineiro was simply hammered by the Bay Bears and allowed eight runs (five earned) with three strikeouts in four innings. Austin Kirk suffered the same fate as he gave up five runs (two earned) with a strikeout in 2.2 innings. Lendy Castillo could only get one batter out as he let in two earned runs. P.J. Francescon was the only Smokies’ pitcher unscathed as he struck out two in a scoreless inning. Outfielder Anthony Giansanti saved the bullpen by coming in a tossing an inning. Giansanti surrendered two earned runs and struck out a batter. Tennessee tried to come back early as Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a home run and an RBI) cut the deficit in half in the first inning with a solo home run. Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) made the score 5-2 in the second as he led off with a double and scored after two ground outs. Once again, the Smokies cut the lead in half in the fourth when Charles Cutler (1-for-2) led off with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly. In the eighth inning Tennessee scored two as Wes Darvill (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) reached on an error and John Andreoli (0-for-4) walked. A double from Rafael Lopez (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) drove both runners in. The Smokies added two more in the ninth when Dustin Geiger (1-for-2 with a double) doubled with two out and scored on a home run by Darvill.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (23-20)
Iowa was not able to get their offense untracked on Monday as they lost 4-2 to Round Rock. The I-Cubs scored all of their runs in the first inning as rehabbing outfielder Justin Ruggiano (2-for-3) singled and moved to third on a double from Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a double). Ruggiano scored on a groundout and a base hit by Josh Vitters (2-for-4 with an RBI) plated Baez. Chris Rusin pitched a decent game. Rusin allowed four runs (three earned) and struck out five in seven innings. Jeffry Antigua had a strikeout in a scoreless inning.
It was a disappointing loss for Iowa on Tuesday as they bowed to Round Rock 2-1. Carlos Pimentel got the start as Kyle Hendricks was nursing a bum ankle and Pimentel went six scoreless innings with six strikeouts in his place. Just recalled from a stint in the Mexican League, Frank Batista did not seem ready as he walked three and allowed an earned run in just 0.1 innings. Marcus Hatley came to the rescue and bailed out Batista without any further damage as he struck out a batter in 1.2 scoreless innings. Alberto Cabrera entered the game in the ninth and failed to record an out as he gave up the winning run. The only run for the I-Cubs came in the fifth when Luis Flores (1-for-4) cranked a solo home run.
Even with Iowa’s record this season, it has been rare when they have been able to dominate a game out of the gate as they did on Wednesday when the I-Cubs beat Round Rock 6-2. Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a home run and an RBI) got the game off on the right foot when he hit a leadoff home run. The I-Cubs began to pull away in the third inning after Josh Vitters (0-for-3) was hit by a pitch and Christian Villanueva (2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI) launched his third home run of the season. Iowa added a run in the fifth inning after Luis Flores (1-for-4) singled and eventually scored on a throwing error. Villanueva left the park for the second time in the game in the sixth inning with a solo home run. Iowa ended their scoring in the eighth after Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a home run and an RBI) added his own solo home run.
Eric Jokisch had another solid game. Jokisch struck out seven and allowed two runs (one earned) in seven innings. The good Alberto Cabrera showed up as he fanned two in a scoreless inning. Jeffry Antigua got the first batter out in the ninth and gave way to Frank Batista, who retired the final two batters for his first save.
News and Notes
Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican League returned RHP Frank Batista to the Tennessee Smokies.
The Chicago Cubs sent OF Justin Ruggiano to the Iowa Cubs on a rehab assignment; assigned OF Casper Wells to the Iowa Cubs from extended Spring Training; assigned RHP Frank Batista to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned RHP Trevor Graham and LHP Tyler Ihrig to the Daytona Cubs from the AZL Cubs; assigned RHP Zak Hermans to the Kane County Cougars from the AZL Cubs; assigned RHP Corbin Hoffner to the Kane County Cougars from the Boise Hawks; RHP Jose Rosario to the Boise Hawks from the Daytona Cubs.
The Iowa Cubs placed RHP Marcos Mateo on the 7-day disabled list. The Daytona Cubs placed RHP Zach Cates on the 7-day disabled list. The Kane County Cougars placed RHP Jen-Ho Tseng on the 7-day disabled list.