First place Tennessee won three out of four thanks to the outstanding pitching of Corey Black and Dae-Eun Rhee. Not to be outdone, second place Iowa took three out of five with the streaking Kris Bryant, Arismendy Alcantara, and Josh Vitters. Meanwhile, a Boise blowout on Friday night gave hope to better days ahead for the Hawks.
All of this, and much, much more, is inside today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Editor’s Note: Monday’s covers games from Thursday through Sunday. Thursday’s report covers games Monday through Wednesday
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (41-39)
It was only one inning, but it was enough for Tennessee Thursday as the Smokies beat Jackson 4-0. The third inning was all Tennessee would need after Elliot Soto (2-for-4), Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-5), and Stephen Bruno (2-for-5) singled. Soto and Ha scored on a throwing error on Bruno’s base hit. Christian Villanueva (2-for-5 with an RBI) drove in Bruno with a base hit and took second on an error. Charles Cutler (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) followed with a double that scored Villanueva, but Cutler was thrown out at third on the play.
Corey Black was able to work around six hits and two walks with three strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Hunter Cervenka tossed two innings with a strikeout, and P.J. Francescon fanned two in 1.2 innings.
It was all hands on deck for Tennessee Friday as the Smokies came from behind to beat Jackson 6-5. Eduardo Figueroa started for the Smokies and had some issues as he allowed three earned runs with a strikeout in three innings. Zach Cates poured a little gas on the fire as he gave up two runs (one earned) with three strikeouts in two innings. An improving Tony Zych took over in the sixth inning and blanked the Generals for two innings. Lendy Castillo continued to hold Jackson in check for an inning, and old reliable Frank Batista earned his second save with two strikeouts in the ninth.
Tennessee jumped out to an early lead after Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4) started the game with a single and Stephen Bruno (1-for-4) and Christian Villanueva (1-for-4) walked. A sharp single by Dustin Geiger (1-for-5 with an RBI) moved the runners up a base and plated Ha. Bruno scored on a groundout. Trailing 5-2 in the top of the eighth, Bruno and Villanueva began the inning with singles. A base hit by pinch-hitter Charles Cutler (1-for-1 with an RBI) drove in Bruno, and Luis Flores (1-for-4 with an RBI) delivered a one out single that plated Villanueva. Jonathan Mota (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI) joined the hit parade with a single that plated Cutler, while Elliot Soto (1-for-3 with an RBI) capped the scoring with an RBI single.
It was a quick game Saturday as Tennessee lost 2-1 to Jackson. Joe Gardner pitched relatively well and allowed two earned runs and struck out a batter in 4.2 innings. Jeffry Antigua went the rest of the way with two strikeouts in 3.1 scoreless innings. The Smokies got their only run in the fifth inning after Anthony Giansanti (0-for-3) reached on an error, moved to second on a base hit from Jeudy Valdez (1-for-3), and scored on a single by Elliot Soto (2-for-3 with an RBI).
On Sunday, Tennessee put on a finishing kick as the Smokies pulled away from Montgomery 6-1. The story of the game was starter Dae-Eun Rhee, who went seven innings and struck out ten batters while allowing only an earned run as he scattered seven hits. P.J. Francescon and Hunter Cervenka handled the eighth inning, while Frank Batista had a strikeout in a perfect ninth.
After spotting the Biscuits a run in the top of the fourth, the Smokies retaliated by loading the bases on singles by Dustin Geiger (1-for-3), Jonathan Mota (1-for-4), and Luis Flores (3-for-4 with a double). A throwing error that let Elliot Soto (0-for-3 with two RBI) reach first base also allowed Geiger and Mota to score. Tennessee blew the game open in the bottom of the eighth as Charles Cutler (3-for-4), Flores, and Kevin Brown (2-for-4) all had base hits to load the bases. A walk by Soto forced in Cutler, and a double from Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-5 with a double and three RBI) cleared the bases.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (43-38)
A road trip to Colorado Springs started with a doubleheader Thursday and Iowa took the first game 7-3. The I-Cubs spotted the Sky Sox two runs, then started chipping away in the fourth after Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-3 with a double, a home run, and two RBI) and Ryan Kalish (3-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and two stolen bases) hit back-to-back doubles that scored Alcantara. Chris Valaika (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) stroked a one out double that plated Kalish. Rafael Lopez (1-for-2 with an RBI) began the fifth inning with a walk and Matt Szczur (1-for-2 with an RBI) singled. Both runners were moved over a base on a sacrifice bunt, and Lopez scored on a sacrifice fly. A base hit from Kalish plated Szczur. Valaika and Kris Bryant (1-for-2) started the sixth inning with singles, and a one out base hit by Lopez scored Valaika. Bryant drove in the sixth run on a sacrifice fly. Alcantara added the punctuation by leading off the seventh with a solo home run. Kyle Hendricks was at the top of his game as he struck out four and allowed two earned runs in six innings. Zac Rosscup had a more difficult time as he gave up an earned run with a strikeout in the seventh.
In game two, Iowa could not overcome a four run deficit and fell short with a 7-6 loss to Colorado Springs. Carlos Pimentel had been getting the second starter assignments for doubleheaders this season, but did not seem ready this time around as he allowed five runs (four earned) with a strikeout in two innings. Yoanner Negrin was rushed into action and gave up two earned runs in an inning. Alberto Cabrera picked up some of the slack as he had two strikeouts in two scoreless innings, while Arodys Vizcaino shut out the Sky Sox in the seventh. The I-Cubs plated two in the first inning after Javier Baez (3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI) doubled with two outs and Josh Vitters (2-for-3) singled. Successive errors allowed both Baez and Vitters to score. It was Baez and Vitters again in the third as they both reached on one out singles and Baez scored on a double by Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI). Ryan Kalish (1-for-3 with a double) started off the fourth with a double and scored on a one out single from Logan Watkins (2-for-4 with two RBI). A double by Baez drove in Watkins. Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a double) doubled to lead off the sixth, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a base hit from Watkins.
Whatever Iowa does, they should make sure to keep Friday night’s bats in good condition as the I-Cubs pummeled Colorado Springs 16-3. Except for reliever Armando Rivero, everyone who got an at bat had at least one hit in a game which actually saw the I-Cubs trail 1-0 in the top of the third. Starting pitcher Chris Rusin (2-for-4 with a home run and an RBI) surprised everyone by leading off the inning with a solo home run. Consecutive singles by Arismendy Alcantara (4-for-6 with a home run and four RBI), Matt Szczur (2-for-4), and Javier Baez (1-for-5 with an RBI) plated Alcantara. A fielding error and groundout allowed Szczur and Baez to score. Rafael Lopez (2-for-3) began the fourth inning with a double and Rusin followed with a single. A base hit from Alcantara plated Lopez. The fifth saw Kris Bryant (3-for-6 with two doubles and an RBI) lead off with a double, and he scored two outs later on a single by Lopez. Iowa exploded in the sixth when singles from Alcantara and Szczur, along with a walk to Baez, loaded the bases. Chris Valaika (2-for-6 with a home run and four RBI) delivered a Grand Slam to clear the bases and restart the frame. Josh Vitters (2-for-3) had a one out single, moved to third on a double from Ryan Kalish (2-for-3), and scored on a groundout. The I-Cubs weren’t done yet, as Valaika began the eighth inning with a single. Back-to-back doubles by Bryant and Vitters scored Valaika and Bryant. Kalish walked to put two on for Alcantara, who added the exclamation point with a three-run home run.
Starter Chris Rusin, as he helped himself at the plate, was no slouch on the mound as he struck out four and allowed three earned runs in six innings. Armando Rivero tossed two perfect innings with two strikeouts. Blake Parker worked around a base hit to strike out the side in the ninth.
Iowa outhit Colorado Springs 10-8 on Saturday, but would up losing 6-0. Eric Jokisch was hit hard as he allowed six earned runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out six in six innings. Alberto Cabrera finished the game with two strikeouts in two scoreless innings. The offense could not string anything together any hits … Kris Bryant (3-for-4), Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5), Ryan Kalish (2-for-4) Logan Watkins (2-for-4), and Brett Jackson (1-for-4)
Four pitchers combined for a shutout on Sunday as Iowa defeated Colorado Springs 2-0. Tsuyoshi Wada took over the Pacific Coast League lead in strikeouts as he fanned eight in 6.2 innings while scattering six hits and only walking one batter. Marcus Hatley went 0.2 innings, while Zac Rosscup retired the only batter he faced. Blake Parker rung up save number 17 as he recorded the final four outs.
The I-Cubs broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning when Ryan Kalish (0-for-3) led off with a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. A single by Eli Whiteside (1-for-4 with an RBI) plated Kalish. Iowa pushed across another run in the eighth inning after Matt Szczur (1-for-3) reached on a one out single and scored on a double from Javier Baez (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI).
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs recalled RHP Dallas Beeler from the Iowa Cubs; optioned RHP Dallas Beeler to the Iowa Cubs; assigned OF Kevin Brown to the Tennessee Smokies from the Boise Hawks; assigned C Mark Zagunis and LHP Sam Wilson to the Boise Hawks from the AZL Cubs; assigned C Mark Zagunis and INF’s Andrew Ely, Joe Martarano, and Chesny Young to the AZL Cubs; assigned LHP Gerardo Concepcion to the AZL Cubs from the Kane County Cougars; assigned RHP Trey Masek to the AZL Cubs from the Boise Hawks; assigned RHP Moises Ramirez to the DSL Cubs from the VSL Cubs; assigned RHP Mauro Vides to the VSL Cubs from the DSL Cubs; assigned RHP Juan Rengifo and LHP Alex Pacheco to the VSL Cubs.