Thursday was a good night down on the farm for the Chicago Cubs. Iowa thumped New Orleans 11-2, Tennessee held on for a 4-2 victory over the Mississippi Braves, Kane County topped South Bend 5-3 and Boise beat Everett 7-3. Daytona was the only minor league team that did not add to their win total, and that was because the D-Cubs were rained out.
And not only did four of the top five affiliates in the system pick up wins, but several of the prospects in the organization turned in good performances at the plate, in the field and on the mound.
Jorge Soler and Albert Almora made their first starts with Iowa and Tennessee. And Iowa’s lineup featured Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler hitting in the middle of the order. Baez played second base and hit third for Iowa and was followed by Bryant and Soler. Mike Olt hit sixth Thursday behind Chris Valaika and played first base.
On the mound, Eric Jokisch, Pierce Johnson, Jen-Ho Tseng, Armando Rivero, James Pugliese and Arodys Vizcaino turned in solid pitching performances.
All eyes were on Principal Park Thursday night with Jorge Soler making his Triple-A debut. Soler had a good night at the plate. Soler went 1-for-3 with two walks and a strikeout. Soler took a four-pitch walk in his first at bat, ripped a single to center in his second plate appearance and walked in his third at bat after falling behind in the count (1-2). Soler saw eight pitches in the one at bat.
Javier Baez went 2-for-5 with a home run, three RBI and two strikeouts. Baez launched his 17th home run of the season in the fifth inning, a solo shot. Baez has really turned it on at the plate. Over his last 10 games, Baez is hitting .366/.400/.683 with four doubles, three home runs, two walks and nine strikeouts for a 1.083 OPS … and over his last 20 games, Baez is hitting .299/.356/.623 with seven doubles, six home runs, seven walks, 19 strikeouts and a .980 OPS.
Kris Bryant went 1-for-4 with two runs scored and his fourth stolen base at Iowa. Bryant has cooled off this month and is hitting .297/.381/.581 in his last 20 games with six doubles, five home runs, eight walks, 24 strikeouts and a .962 OPS.
Mike Olt had a good night at the plate. Olt went 2-for-5 with a double, three RBI, two runs scored and a strikeout. Josh Vitters entered the game in the seventh inning pinch hitting for Armando Rivero and launched a two-run homer.
On the hill, Eric Jokisch picked up the win after allowing two runs on 10 hits with two walks and five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Armando Rivero tossed 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball. Rivero surrendered a hit, walked a batter and struck out three. Arodys Vizcaino gave up three hits with a walk and a strikeout in 1 2/3 innings. Vizcaino did not allow a run to score for the second straight outing.
Albert Almora went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in his Double-A debut and Addison Russell went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a strikeout. Russell is hitting .281/.361/.594 with a double, three home runs, three walks, five strikeouts and a .955 OPS in his last 10 games.
Pierce Johnson started the game and tossed six innings of shutout ball. Johnson gave up two hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.
Kane County Cougars
Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-3 with a RBI and two runs scored), Jacob Rogers (3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) and Ben Carhart (2-for-4 with two RBI) led the Cougars offense while Jeffrey Baez went 0-for-3 at the plate.
Jen-Ho Tseng picked up his sixth win with another solid performance. Tseng allowed three runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Tseng is 6-0 in 14 games, 13 starts, with the Cougars and has allowed 23 runs, 22 earned, on 62 hits with 11 walks and 68 strikeouts in 74 innings (2.68 ERA, 0.99 WHIP) this season.
James Pugliese picked up his third save by retiring all four batters he faced in 1 1/3 innings. Pugliese is 3-0 on the season in 25 relief appearances with a 1.54 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP. In 46 2/3 innings, Pugliese has given up 31 hits with 10 walks and 51 strikeouts.