On The Farm: Loman stays hot for Dash

On The Farm: Loman stays hot for Dash

Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010
10:15 PM
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
WHITE SOX
Winston-Salem (A)
Seth Loman closed out July on a hot streak and has opened August in the same fashion. He had yet another big evening on Tuesday as Winston-Salem defeated Wilmington, 8-5, at BB&T Ballpark.

The victory was the Dashs 37th at home this season, tops in the Carolina League and tied for second-best overall in the minor leagues. Loman helped pad that mark by going 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs. Loman has 71 RBIs and is the owner of a five-game hitting streak during which he is batting .450 (9-for-2) with nine RBIs.

Brandon Short hit his 15th homer of the season and drove in his 72nd run. Joe Serafin picked up his first Carolina League victory in five starts, allowing four runs on nine hits over six innings.

Bristol (Rookie)
The Sox received a brilliant pitching performance from trio of hurlers Tuesday night as they blanked Burlington, 3-0.

Matt Heidenreich started and earned the victory, allowing three hits in seven innings while fanning four. Josh Billeaud and Kevin Moran (sixth save) each pitched a scoreless inning. Drew Lee had three hits and an RBI, giving Bristol all it would need with a run-scoring double in the third.

Kannapolis (A)
The Intimidators scored a pair of eighth-inning runs as a result of a Greenville throwing error and that was the difference in their 6-4 victory at Fieldcrest Canon Stadium.

Ryan Hamme and Miguel Gonzalez scored on an Arquimedes Caminero error. Jose Vargas paced the offense the rest of the evening with three hits, including a homer, and two RBIs. Zach Piccola earned the win, his first of the season.

In other action, Birmingham dropped a 5-0 decision at Jacksonville. The Barons managed only six hits as they remain on course to challenge many of the Southern League records for futility. They need to win 11 of their final 32 games to avoid tying the 1967 Knoxville Smokies (47 wins) for the fewest wins in a Southern League season. They need to win 12 games to avoid equaling Carolinas 1992 mark for most losses in a season (92).

CHARLOTTE (AAA)
The Knights saw Carlos Torres get promoted to the White Sox on Tuesday and it threw their whole rotation into flux. The result was six pitchers taking the mound for Charlotte in a 12-10 loss to Rochester at Knights Stadium.

Freddy Dolsi started and allowed four runs on two hits in an inning. Miguel Socolovich then allowed two runs in two innings before Randy Williams stabilized everything by throwing three shutout innings. The Wings, however, touched Jhonny Nunez for three runs in an inning and Jon Adkins for three runs in an inning to complete their offensive outburst.

The Knights did manage 10 runs on 11 hits, scoring five times in both the third and seventh innings. Brent Morel hit a seventh-inning grand slam while Stefan Gartrell had a three-run homer in the third. Fernando Cortez was 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored. ... Torres was returned to Charlotte following his start for the Sox on Tuesday.

CUBS

The Cubs top four affiliates struggle Tuesday night with each coming out on the losing end. Daytona was bested by Bradenton, 11-5, at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Robert Whitenack took the loss in his Florida State League debut, allowing six runs in four innings. DJ LeMahieu had three hits, extending his hitting streak to six games. Peoria was on the losing end of a 5-1 decision at Wisconsin. The Chiefs managed only three hits. Outfielder Matt Szczur was placed on the temporarily inactive list while he returns to Villanova for his senior season of football. Outfielder Anthony Giansanti was moved up from mesa while infielder Brandon May joined the team from Boise. Oklahoma City scored four fifth-inning runs and topped Iowa, 5-1, at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark. J.R. Mathes allowed all five runs. Jake Muyco, who was bumped up from Tennessee prior to the game, pitched two scoreless innings. The Smokies activated LHP Ryan Buchter off the DL prior to their 3-2 loss at Montgomery.

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

Kris Bryant ignites World Series nostalgia with Cubs' epic eighth-inning comeback

Kris Bryant ignites World Series nostalgia with Cubs' epic eighth-inning comeback

“Reminded me a lot of a play in the World Series.”

Kris Bryant wasn’t the only one with World Series nostalgia Saturday afternoon at the Friendly Confines. The tens of thousands of Cubs fans losing their minds over the North Siders’ eighth-inning comeback made that very clear.

Bryant, though, was the one who provided it, first driving in the game-tying run mere moments after the visiting St. Louis Cardinals smashed open a pitchers duel with back-to-back homers off Jon Lester in the top of the eighth. Bryant then got a head starts and came around all the way from first, scoring the game-winning run on a ball Anthony Rizzo dumped into the left-center field gap so perfectly he couldn’t have thrown it there any better.

Bryant slid in — feet first — beating the throw home from ex-teammate Dexter Fowler. Cue the hysteria at Clark and Addison.

“Me, honestly, I was just trying to go up the middle. I think that’s kind of where I’ve been struggling this year is with guys on base I want to do too much. Just seeing through the middle. Bat broke and flew, I don’t know where it went, but it flew somewhere. That was huge,” Bryant explained after the game.

“And then obviously with Rizz having a good at-bat off a tough lefty. I don't know if Dexter or Tommy Pham got a good read or if they were way back at the track, but right when he hit it I didn’t see them anywhere close to it so I thought there was a pretty good chance that I could score.”

Bryant’s very presence in the Cubs’ starting lineup was the headline before the game, the “freak of nature” returning from a jammed finger after missing only one game. So of course it was the reigning National League MVP who played the biggest role, flipping the script from his sick day by being right in the middle of the Cubs’ eighth-inning explosion. It was the eighth inning where the Cardinals staged their game-defining rally Friday.

[CUBS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Manager Joe Maddon went as far as saying that perhaps only Bryant could have made the play he did, scoring from first base on what went down as a Rizzo double.

“KB being able to play was the difference in today’s game,” Maddon said. “A combination of the hit and his speed. I don’t think anybody else scores on that. Maybe Jason (Heyward), possibly. (Ian) Happ, possibly. But KB is such a good base runner. He had it in his head the moment the ball was hit, and all (third base coach Gary) Jones had to do was wave his arm. You can’t underestimate the importance of one person in the lineup.

“He’s a very bright base runner. He’s shown that from the beginning. … He demonstrated that early on, and for me when a young player demonstrates awareness on the bases, man, that’s a good baseball player.”

All that talent made Bryant last season’s Most Valuable Player and one of the most important figures in the curse-breaking World Series championship.

Bryant mentioned he thought Saturday’s game-winning trip from first to home conjured memories of a similar play in Game 7 of last fall’s World Series, when Bryant went first to home on Rizzo’s base hit off Andrew Miller in the fifth inning.

“Reminded me a lot of a play in the World Series off of Andrew Miller. It was a full count there, started early,” Bryant said. “Rizz hit it, you’ve got to give him a ton of credit, worked a great at-bat. But the head start really does help. It's something that I take pride in is my base running, surprising people. Hopefully I did that today.”

With Bryant back in the lineup Saturday, Kyle Hendricks’ return to the rotation coming Monday, a now 7-1 record since the All-Star break and a bunched-up NL Central that had four teams within three and a half games of each other entering Saturday’s action, it’s no wonder the World Series feeling is making its way back to the North Side.

All season long, fans and observers have been waiting for that switch to flip, and maybe it finally has.

The bats were thunderous on that six-game road trip out of the All-Star break, with 16 home runs helping the Cubs to back-to-back sweeps of the Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves. Friday’s loss to the Cardinals provided plenty of evidence that the rest of the season might feature a knock-down, drag-out slugfest between the four NL Central contenders. All that was missing was a game that got Wrigleyville rocking.

“Probably one of our better wins of the year,” Bryant said.

That’s all without even mentioning the efforts of Lester, who was perfect until Adam Wainwright’s single in the top of the sixth. It was another stellar effort from a Cubs starting pitcher, and what was the team’s biggest problem during that sub-.500 first half — inconsistent starting pitching — certainly seems to be ironed out.

While the standings say it’s still going to be a brawl to the end with the Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates, the Cubs could be in a first-place tie by the end of Saturday night.

In other words, the race is on. And Bryant and the Cubs are clicking at the right time.

“It’s already Jaugust,” Maddon joked, inventing a new month out of thin air. “There’s no waiting around right now. Everybody feels the same way. We took advantage of the break, I believe. We came back with renewed energy. You don’t want to give up anything right now.”

After losing uncle, emotional Jon Lester pays tribute with Notre Dame rallying cry

After losing uncle, emotional Jon Lester pays tribute with Notre Dame rallying cry

Jon Lester wore PLACT on his hat Saturday and he made good on the Notre Dame rallying cry — Play Like a Champion Today — against the Cardinals.

Lester didn't attend college and doesn't cheer for Notre Dame, but in his postgame session, he fought through tears to tell reporters why he decided to put the Notre Dame nod on his hat:

"My family — I lost my uncle yesterday," Lester said. "For the Notre Dame fans, he went to Notre Dame, so it's Play Like a Champion Today. Just to let him know that I was thinking of him."

Lester worked through the grief and carried a perfect game into the sixth inning, retiring the first 17 Cardinals hitters in the game.

Lester wound up surrendering two homers in the eighth inning, but the Cubs offense rallied behind him with three runs in the bottom of the inning, giving their ace his seventh win of the season.

But Lester's teammates didn't even know the struggle he was going through.

"I didn't even know that, man," said Kris Bryant, who scored the winning run. "That's tough. Jonny, he won't ever show you any emotion. Something like that, to hear that, obviously it's terrible, but he's probably one of the best teammates I've ever been able to play with in my short time.

"You know what you're going to get with him every day. You know he's gonna be the same guy, the same competitor and I love that about him."