Chicago Bears

On The Farm: Sauer, Williams pace Winston-Salem

On The Farm: Sauer, Williams pace Winston-Salem

Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010
10:00 PM
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com

WHITE SOX

Winston-Salem (A)
Stephen Sauer pitched his best game in nearly a month Wednesday night as Winston-Salem bested Wilmington, 4-2, at Frawley Stadium.

Sauer went seven innings, his longest outing since July 19, which also represents the last time he won a game. The right-hander had lost three consecutive starts heading into Wednesday, allowing 14 runs over 16 23 innings over that stretch. He allowed only two runs against Wilmington, however, equaling a season-high with seven strikeouts.

Jon Gilmore and Ozzie Lewis each had a pair of hits for the Dash while Kenny Williams went 1-for-3 with an RBI, extending his hitting streak to nine games. Hes batting .344 (11-for-32) during the streak. Greg Paiml went 0-for-2, stretching his hitless streak to 13 at-bats since his return from Birmingham and 15 overall including his time in the Southern League.

Birmingham (AA)
The Barons got a great effort from their bullpen Wednesday night, hanging on to defeat Mississippi, 3-2.

The Birmingham pen pitched 3 23 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and a walk over that stretch in relief of Johnnie Lowe (5-4), who allowed two runs in 5 13 innings. Henry Mabee, Kyle Bellamy and Anthony Carter did the rest.

Eduardo Escobars RBI single in the second inning proved to be the game-winner after the Barons had scored two first-inning runs. Henry Mabee, Kyle Bellamy and Anthony Carter did
In other action, Danville scored six times in the seventh inning and bested Bristol, 9-5. Marcus Spencer had a homer and three RBIs for the Sox. ... Durham defeated Charlotte, 10-9, in 11 innings at Durham Athletic Park. Jeremy Reed had a pair of hits and four RBIs, giving him six RBIs in the first two games of the series. Mark Teahen was 3-for-4 with an RBI and is hitting .400 in 10 games with the Knights. ... Michael Blanke, Andy Wilkins and Ross Wilson each had a pair of hits for Great Falls in a 6-5 victory over Billings. It was Blanke's RBI single in the ninth inning that provided the margin of victory.

CUBS

Tennessee (AA)
Chris Archer has been gaining a great deal of attention for his pitching exploits at Tennessee but Rafael Dolis has quietly put together an impressive run of his own since moving up from Daytona in June.

Dolis was sharp again Wednesday night as Tennessee edged Hunstville, 2-0, at Smokies Park. He tossed five shutout innings while fanning five to win his second consecutive start while improving to 3-0 in his last five starts. Hes got a 2.11 ERA in 21 13 innings over those five starts.

Blake Lalli scored on a throwing error in the second inning to give the Smokies all the advantage they would need. Brandon Guyer was 1-for-4, extending his hitting streak to 15 games. Hes batting .456 (26-for-57) during the streak.
Daytona (A)
The Cubs moved back into a tie for first place in the Florida State Leagues North Division on Wednesday after knocking off Tampa, 6-3, at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Daytona and the Yankees now share the Divisional lead.

D.J. LeMahieus two-run single in the third tied the score at two before Rebel Ridlings RBI single gave the Cubs a lead they would not relinquish. LeMahieu added another two-run single an inning later.

Alberto Cabrera earned the victory, his third in four outings, after striking out eight and giving up two runs in 5 23 innings.

In other action, Portland handed Iowa a 5-4 loss in a matinee at Principal Park. Jay Jackson (9-7) saw his six-game winning streak come to an end as he suffered his first loss since June 17. Jackson allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings. The I-Cubs scored twice in the eighth and twice in the ninth but couldnt complete the comeback despite having the bases loaded with one out. ... Beloit defeated Peoria, 7-4, in 11 innings. Matt Cerda was 2-for-4 with an RBI. ... Boise upended Tri-City, 4-3, as Juan Serrano improved to 5-1. ... The Brewers beat the AZL Cubs, 14-4.

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

Bears: Where does Kyle Fuller fit with Prince Amukamara back?

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USA Today Sports Images

Bears: Where does Kyle Fuller fit with Prince Amukamara back?

Prince Amukamara (ankle) is expected to make his 2017 regular season debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers after being a full participant in practices Thursday and Friday (he wasn't listed on Friday's injury report). But that leads to the question: What does defensive coordinator Vic Fangio do with Kyle Fuller?

Fuller acquitted himself well in starts against the Atlanta Falcons — in which he helped limit Julio Jones to four catches on five targets — and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bears signed Amukamara to start opposite Marcus Cooper, but Fuller has at least earned the opportunity to keep his job — or a job — on Sunday. 

And it's worth noting that both Fuller and Amukamara are in contract years, so both should be motivated to not lose playing time going forward. 

“I was pleased with the waay Kyle played overall,” Fangio said. “There's obviously some plays he'd like to do over and play them a little better, but overall I thought he did a good job. I like where he's at right now.”

Fangio didn’t play Fuller as a nickel corner in 2015. But if the Bears want to get their best defensive players on the field could Fuller force his way into a nickel role with Amukamara and Cooper as the outside guys? 

That’s an especially pertinent question given Pittsburgh’s explosive trio of receivers: Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster. 

“No matter where a receiver lines up, it’s not going to be a down to take off,” Amukamara said. “We’re always going to have to have our ‘A’ game.”

Avisail Garcia's 'big head' isn't getting in the way of defensive improvements

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USA TODAY

Avisail Garcia's 'big head' isn't getting in the way of defensive improvements

Avisail Garcia's "big head" almost cost the White Sox on Friday night. At least, that's Reynaldo Lopez's humorous theory. 

With the game on the line and the Royals' tying run dashing for the plate, Garcia slipped a bit before making a clutch recovery to nail Whit Merrifield. The craziness continued after the tag as Narvaez caught Lorenzo Cain drifting off first base to seal a win. 

"I was watching the game on the TV here," Lopez said, "and then when I saw the hit from Cain, and I saw that Avi fell down because he has a big head, I was concerned but at the same time I saw that his throw, he has a good arm and he made a very good throw." 

Just your average 9-2-4-6 double play to end a game on the South Side, right? 

"Obviously, when he slipped we took a little gasp," Renteria said. "But we were talking about his body control to be able to maintain himself enough to get up and make the throw that he did. Unbelievable. It's pretty exciting finish to a ballgame that kind of got a little ugly early on."

Ugly is an apt way to describe the first few innings. Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada both made errors in the Royals' six-run third inning, and Lopez capped it off with a wild pitch that allowed Eric Hosmer to score. But it went from an eyesore loss to an overzealous "we could make noise in 2019" rebuild win from there, and Garcia's defense -- of all things -- played a significant role. 

Garcia's outfield assist in the ninth was his second of the game. The first, an absolute strike to cut down Alex Gordon in the sixth, didn't involve a slip, though. 

And while much has been made of Garcia's breakout year with the bat, he believes his defense is hugely improved, too. 

"I think 100 percent," he said. "I just try to get better every day with hitting and defense. That’s baseball so get better in everything."

He has 12 outfield assists on the season, up from five a year ago. And despite his overall fielding percentage being down, his strong arm may give him a stronger defensive reputation. 

"Since last year, he's always had an excellent arm," Renteria said. "I think his accuracy is something to be pointed out too because as off balance as he was, he's made some throws to the plate that have been really spot on."

Renteria attributes Garcia's accuracy to the outfielder putting in extra time with Daryl Boston. 

"(Boston) has those guys throwing, and none of you guys are out there watching them work, but they'll throw quite a bit to the bases, especially second base," Renteria said. "They'll get deep and they'll work on doing that, so that's just a part of their routine."

The evolution of Avi carries on.