The end of the week saw another affiliate move into first place, as Eugene used a dominant performance by Oscar De La Cruz to move into the top spot.
Myrtle Beach and the AZL Cubs had to dodge the raindrops, and South Bend just couldn’t put it together despite the effort of Tommy Thorpe.
As the playoff races get tighter, keep yourself well informed with Down on the Farm Report.
Short Season Class-A – Eugene Emeralds (34-32)
In their regularly scheduled game on Tuesday, the Emeralds moved into first place with a 6-3 victory over Spokane. Donnie Dewees (2-for-4 with a double and a stolen base) continues to be the igniter as he led off the game with a double and scored on a single from P.J. Higgins (2-for-4). Eugene answered two runs from the Indians with two of their own in the third inning after Higgins had a two out base hit and came around on a home run from Eloy Jimenez (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI). It all started with two outs again in the fourth inning as back-to-back doubles by Alex Bautista (1-for-3 with a double) and Blake Headley (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI) resulted in a run. A single from Ricardo Marcano (1-for-3 with an RBI) drove in Headley. Eugene manufactured a run in the fifth when Dewees singled and stole second. Jimenez reached on an error and both runners advanced on a balk. Ian Rice (0-for-2) was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and a walk to Alberto Mineo (1-for-2 with an RBI) forced in Dewees.
The organization remains cautious with their use of Justin Steele as he allowed two earned runs in 2.2 innings. Jae-Hoon Ha earned his third victory as he had a strikeout in 1.1 scoreless innings. Scott Effross was charged with an unearned run in two innings with a pair of strikeouts. Craig Brooks struck out the side in the seventh for his first professional save.
It was a dominating performance Wednesday as Eugene maintained their first place lead by beating Spokane 4-1. Oscar De La Cruz carried a no-hitter until two outs in the sixth inning, and struck out 13 batters. De La Cruz allowed only one hit and was charged with an unearned run in seven innings. Greyfer Eregua tossed two perfect innings and had two strikeouts for his second save.
The Emeralds offense did not get into gear until the third inning when Sutton Whiting (1-for-3 with a double) had a one out double. A two out single by P.J. Higgins (1-for-4) scored Whiting, with a base hit by Eloy Jimenez (1-for-2) and a walk to Andrew Ely (2-for-3) loading the bases. Alex Bautista (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) doubled to bring in Higgins and Jimenez. Eugene added a run in the sixth inning after Alberto Mineo (1-for-4) doubled and Blake Headley singled. An error allowed Mineo to come home.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (58-68)
South Bend seemed to have the game locked up Wednesday until the bottom dropped out and they lost 4-3 to West Michigan. Jeffrey Baez (1-for-4 with two stolen bases) began the game with a single and stole second base. A one out triple by Ian Happ (1-for-5 with a triple and an RBI) brought in Baez. Happ later scored on a balk. The Cubs increase their lead to 3-1 in the seventh after Vimael Machin (1-for-4 with a double) doubled and came home on a one out single by Erick Castillo (1-for-4 with an RBI).
Tommy Thorpe was on top of his game as he had three strikeouts and was charged with an unearned run in seven innings. But Alex Santana was out of control, as he walked three and gave up a hit, which led to three earned runs in the eighth inning.
It just wasn’t enough for South Bend on Thursday as they lost to Great Lakes 4-3. James Norwood started and gave up three earned runs on five hits and three walks while striking out four in three innings. Ryan McNeil stepped in and allowed an earned run, as he struck out three in three innings. Dillon Maples finished out the game, tossing three scoreless frames and striking out two batters.
The Cubs drew first blood after Kevin Encarnacion (1-for-4) had a one out single in the second and Charcer Burks (1-for-2 with a double) doubled. Jesse Hodges (1-for-3) walked and Encarnacion scored on a sacrifice fly. A rally in the third fizzled somewhat as Ian Happ (1-for-5) had a one out single and Gioskar Amaya (1-for-5 with a double) doubled. A base hit from David Bote (2-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Happ, but that was all. South Bend tried to come back in the eighth inning after Burks made it all the way to second on an error and scored on a single by Vimael Machin (1-for-3 with two RBI).
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (76-52)
Myrtle Beach was back in action Thursday after a rainout on Wednesday, losing to Wilmington 3-2. Daury Torrez was looking to finish the season strong, as he allowed two earned runs and had five strikeouts in seven innings. James Farris was nicked for an unearned run while striking out two in an inning. Josh Conway struck out a batter in a scoreless ninth.
The Pelicans tied the game at two in the fourth after Mark Zagunis (1-for-2) led off with a single and scored on a one out double from Jacob Rogers (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI). After a wild pitch, Rogers came home on a two out base hit by Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-4 with an RBI).
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (69-60)
The Smokies brought their bats on Wednesday as Tennessee pounded out 14 hits in an 8-4 triumph over Chattanooga. Albert Almora Jr. (2-for-4 with a double, a home run, and four RBI) got the offense going in the first inning with a one out solo home run. Dan Vogelbach (2-for-4 with a double, a home run, and an RBI) led off the fourth inning with a solo home run of his own. Wes Darvill (2-for-5 with an RBI) and Ryan Dent (1-for-5) singled with two outs, and Jacob Hannemann (1-for-4) walked to load the bases. A double by Almora cleared the bases, scoring Darvill, Dent and Hannemann. After a wild pitch, a double by Bijan Rademacher (2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a stolen base) drove in Almora. The seventh began with a walk to Vogelbach. Singles by Taylor Davis (1-for-4) and Stephen Bruno (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI) brought the big man home. Tennessee capped the scoring in the eighth when Bruno doubled with one out and scored on a single by Darvill.
Ryan Williams was back to his old self as he had the Lookouts pounding the ball into the ground, recording 10 groundouts while striking out three and allowing two runs (one earned) in six innings. Starling Peralta gave up an earned run with a strikeout in 1.2 innings. P.J. Francescon fanned two and yielded an earned run in the final inning for his 21st save.
It was domination from start to finish as Tennessee defeated Chattanooga 7-1 on Thursday. Jeffry Antigua cracked open a beauty, as he occasionally does. Antigua blanked the Lookouts on four hits and three walks while striking out two in six innings. Tayler Scott gave up an earned run in an inning, while Corey Black had a strikeout in a perfect inning. Matt Brazis struck out a batter in a scoreless ninth.
It was a steady grind for the Smokies’ offense. Ryan Dent (1-for-3) singled with one out in the third inning and scored on a double from Jacob Hannemann (1-for-5 with a double). It was another quick strike in the fourth inning after Willson Contreras (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) led off with a single and Taylor Davis (3-for-4 with a double and an RBI) drew a one out walk. A base hit by Jeimer Candelario (2-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Contreras. Albert Almora Jr. (1-for-5) had a one out single in the fifth inning, and back-to-back doubles from Bijan Rademacher (1-for-5 with a double) and Contreras scored Almora and Rademacher. The sixth started with a base hit by Candelario and walks to Stephen Bruno (0-for-4 with a walk) and Dent. A fielding error allowed both Candelario and Bruno to come home. In the ninth, Contreras was hit by a pitch and scored after singles by Dan Vogelbach (1-for-5) and Davis.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (74-58)
It was a very workman-like effort on Wednesday for the I-Cubs, as they beat Fresno 3-2. Iowa took the lead in the third inning when Luke Carlin (1-for-3) singled with one out and John Andreoli (1-for-4 with a double) doubled. A two out base hit by Javier Baez (2-for-4 with two RBI) drove in Andreoli. Iowa got the insurance run they needed in the eighth inning as Emilio Bonifacio (1-for-4) singled with one out and stole second base, coming in on a base hit from Baez.
Carlos Pimentel was efficient as he allowed an earned run on four walks and three hits while striking out three in 5.1 innings. Trevor Cahill tossed 1.2 scoreless innings, while Rafael Soriano shut down the Grizzlies for an inning. Brian Schlitter was charged with an unearned run, but still picked up his 22nd save.
Thursday was another solid but unspectacular game as Iowa defeated Sacramento 3-1. John Andreoli (0-for-3 with a walk) led off the bottom of the first with a walk and Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a stolen base) had a one out single. Baez then stole second and base hit by Christian Villanueva (2-for-4 with two RBI) drove in Andreoli and Baez. The I-Cubs added a run in the fourth on a Chris Valaika (2-for-3 with a home run and an RBI) solo home run.
Tsuyoshi Wada had a good outing as he gave up an earned run on six hits and a walk while striking out three in 6.2 innings. Yoervis Medina got the final out of the seventh, and Ryan Buchter had a strikeout in 1.1 perfect innings. Blake Cooper recorded the final two outs for his fifth save.
Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs (30-21)
The AZL Cubs had their games on Wednesday and Thursday cancelled due to rain.