On The Farm: Iowa Stages Monstrous Rally To Retain First Place

On The Farm: Iowa Stages Monstrous Rally To Retain First Place

Thursday, Sept. 2
Posted: 9:15 a.m.
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
CUBS
Iowa AAA
The I-Cubs, knowing that a loss would drop them into a first-place tie with Memphis, did what any team would do in that situation. They staged a monstrous, miraculous rally Wednesday night, scoring nine ninth-inning runs to stun Albuquerque, 15-13, at Isotopes Park.

The victory keeps Iowa a game ahead of the Redbirds with five left to play. The I-Cubs close out their series in New Mexico on Thursday before heading home for a weekend set with Memphis, essentially a four-game playoff series to decide first place in the PCL American North Division.

The rally was Iowas biggest scoring inning of the season and marked its second comeback when trailing after eight innings this week. Prior to turning the trick against Omaha on Sunday, the I-Cubs had been 0-42 when trailing heading into the ninth inning.

Marquez Smith got the ninth started with a leadoff walk and went to third on a Brad Snyder double. Jason Dubois then cut the lead to 13-9 with a three-run homer. After Bryan LaHair singled, Jon Link came on to pitch for the Topes. Bobby Scales then reached on an error and LaHair went to third on a wild pitch before Chris Robinsons double scored LaHair and put runners on second and third.

Jon Mota then whiffed but James Adduci then reached on the second Albuquerque error of the inning, bringing home Scales and putting runners on the corners. Sam Fuld then followed with an RBI single and after a double steal Smith ended the inning with a three-run homer.

The victory was Iowas franchise-record 43rd on the road this season. Justin Berg earned that win with 23 of a scoreless inning. Jay Jackson had started and got trounced, allowing nine runs on 10 hits in four innings. Austin Bibens-Dirkx 5-3, 4.14 will start the series finale. Snyder and Darwin Barney were named to the PCL post-season All-Star team.

Tennessee AA
The Smokies rallied from an early three-run deficit Wednesday night and cruised by Jacksonville, 9-4, at The Baseball Grounds.

Brett Jacksons three-run homer capped a four-run fourth inning that put the Smokies in the lead. Brandon Guyer and Russ Canzler each had three hits for Tennessee while Mark Reed had two hits and two RBIs. Aaron Shafer pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Jeremy Papelbon to earn his second victory.

Guyer, Tony Campana and Robinson Chirinos, since promoted to Iowa, were all named to the Southern Leagues post-season All-Star team.

In other action, Boise bested Spokane, 11-2. Arismendy Alcantara had three hits and three RBIs while Dustin Harrington went 5-for-5 with an RBI. Hes got 10 hits in 22 at-bats over his last four games. Great Falls squeaked by at Helena, 2-0, in White Sox farm-team action. Paul Burnside allowed three hits over six innings to earn his sixth victory and fiorst since Aug. 5.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Preview: Cubs wrap up series with Pirates on CSN

Preview: Cubs wrap up series with Pirates on CSN

The Cubs wrap up their three-game series with the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage from the North Side starts at 7 p.m., and be sure to stick around following the final out for reaction and analysis on Cubs Postgame Live.

Starting pitching matchup: Jason Hammel (13-7, 3.21 ERA) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (3-3, 3.02 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you're ready for the action.

[SHOP CUBS: Get your Cubs gear right here]

— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the Cubs: All of the most recent news and notes.

— See what fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Cubs Pulse.

Preview: Chris Sale, White Sox close out series with Tigers on CSN

Preview: Chris Sale, White Sox close out series with Tigers on CSN

The White Sox close out their series against the Detroit Tigers Wednesday, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 11:30 a.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Chris Sale (15-7, 3.14 ERA) vs. Justin Verlander (14-7, 3.33 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

— See what fans are talking about before, during and after the game with White Sox Pulse.

White Sox bullpen falters in loss to Tigers

White Sox bullpen falters in loss to Tigers

DETROIT — The 2016 White Sox expected an improved offense when they addressed two of last season’s biggest needs with trades for Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie.

While scoring is up a hair over the 2015 club, it hasn’t nearly been enough.

As they have for much of the season, the White Sox jumped out to an early three-run lead on Tuesday night but failed to put their opponents away. Their dormancy allowed the Detroit Tigers to rally back to send the White Sox to an 8-4 loss in front of 27,121 at Comerica Park. Frazier homered early before Detroit scored eight runs between the fifth and seventh innings. The Tigers look to complete a three-game sweep of the White Sox on Wednesday afternoon on CSN.

“That’s kind of been the story of our year,” leadoff man Adam Eaton said. “With runners in scoring position we haven’t been able to drive in and get the big hit. When we do that we win. When we get it done we win and when we don’t it bites us.”

The White Sox thought they added serious bite to an offense that finished at or near the bottom of the American League in 2015 in most of the major categories. Frazier was acquired in a three-team deal from the Cincinnati Reds and Lawrie came over from Oakland for two-minor leaguers. On top of the acquisitions of Melky Cabrera and Adam LaRoche a year earlier, Frazier and Lawrie were expected to bolster positions in which the White Sox finished last in OPS in the majors last season.

To an extent, the plan has worked. The White Sox entered Tuesday having increased their scoring average to 4.07 runs per game, up from 3.84. But even with that improvement, the White Sox started play 13th among 15 AL clubs in runs scored and 63 runs below the league average.

They also were 13th in home runs (131), slugging percentage (.402) and OPS (.717).

Part of their struggles can be attributed to injuries — Lawrie has been out since July 22 and Austin Jackson has been gone since early June. The unexpected retirement of LaRoche also left the White Sox short on left-handed power in the middle of the lineup and forced Cabrera from the second spot to fifth to provide balance. And some can be attributed to down years by several key veterans, including the performance with runners in scoring position by Jose Abreu and Frazier.

But even the White Sox thought they’d be a better run-scoring team than they have proven through 131 games.

“I think we did,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You lose Rochie at the beginning of the year, and that changed the left-handed dynamic of what our lineup would have been like. But you still expect guys to hit a little better and score more runs than we’ve done. We haven’t held up our end of the bargain.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Their end of the bargain left the White Sox vulnerable on Tuesday. Frazier’s two-run homer and an RBI groundout by Eaton in the second inning had the White Sox in command. But Daniel Norris struck out Tim Anderson to strand a runner at third.

Then in the fourth, Norris got Tyler Saladino to fly out to shallow right, which prevented the runner on third from tagging. After Eaton walked, Norris got Anderson to ground into a fielder’s choice.

Even though Norris’ pitch count was sky high, the White Sox failed to knock him out of the game. That allowed the Tigers to rally back against Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Albers and Jacob Turner.

“They seem to add on,” Ventura said. “They don’t stop adding on that extra run. A guy on third with less than two outs, they’re able to get it in. That’s been an Achilles heel for us.”

It’s also been a source of frustration, Eaton said. The White Sox look around the room and feel like they have a talented group, especially now with Justin Morneau solidifying the middle. But once again, that group didn’t keep their foot on the pedal and paid the price.

“They just continue to plug away,” Eaton said. “Their offense is good enough to come back from any deficit. Hats off to them, but we’ve got to keep adding on. We got on Norris early and got his pitch count up, but we’ve got to keep knocking on the door. We didn’t keep on it enough and knock him out real early.

“Top to bottom I think we have a pretty good lineup. It is frustrating when you don’t get that big hit and vice versa for the big pitch.”