Chicago Cubs

Tennessee Remains Smokin' Hot At Jacksonville

Tennessee Remains Smokin' Hot At Jacksonville

Saturday April 23, 2011
Posted: 9:40 p.m.

CUBS Tennessee AA
The Smokies have spent the better part of the seasons first month tearing up the Southern League with an impressive offensive performance. Heading into Saturdays game at Jacksonville, Tennessee was leading the league in hitting and was the only team on the circuit batting higher than .300.

Tennessee put on another show against Suns, banging out 13 hits and charging to a 6-2 lead before holding on for a 7-3 victory at The Baseball Grounds. The middle infield provided the spark this time with shortstop Marwin Gonzalez collecting three hits and second baseman Nate Samson going 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs.

First baseman Josh Vitters rounded out the infield assault, adding a homer and two RBIs. Brooks Raley started and struggled again, getting chased after 4 13 innings. The Smokies bullpen was brilliant, though, throwing 4 23 shutout innings Hung-Wen Chen earning his first win of the season.
Peoria A
The Chiefs rallied for a pair of seventh-inning runs Saturday afternoon at OBrien Field to earn a surprising 3-2 victory over Beloit and gain a doubleheader split. The Snappers grabbed the opener, 5-2.

Greg Rohans two-run single not only pushed his team-leading RBI total to 14 it capped the big late comeback. Arismendy Alcantara led off the seventh with a single and went to second on Matt Szczurs bunt single. Rohan followed a Pierre LaPage bunt with a single to center to win it. Rohans RBI double in the sixth had cut Beloits lead to 2-1.

Eduardo Figueroa 1-1 pitched 2 13 perfect innings of relief to earn the victory. Starter Graham Hicks tied a career high with eight strikeouts.

Peoria recorded a season-high four errors in the opener, including an opening-inning miscue that led to a pair of Beloit runs. Cam Greathouse 0-1 started and went 4 13 innings, allowing all five runs though only two were earned. Micah Gibbs went 2-for-3 while Greg Rohan drove in his team-leading 11th run with a sacrifice fly.
Daytona A
The Cubs stretched their winning streak to five games Saturday evening, topping Dunedin, 6-2, at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium to remain in first place in the Florida State Leagues North Division.

Junior Lake and Jake Optiz paced Daytona, combining for seven hits. Optiz had three doubles while Lake had a homer, two stolen bases and three RBIs. Jae-Hoon Ha added a pair of hits and has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, pushing his average to .375.

Nick Struck 2-1 scattered four hits and fanned seven over 5 13 innings. He retired 10 in a row after Scott Podsednik picked up a leadoff single. Ryan Searle pitched 2 13 scoreless innings and has not allowed a run in his 9 13 innings pitched this season.
Iowa AAA
Brad Snyder and Matt Camp combined for five of Iowas seven hits Saturday night and it proved to be not enough as Memphis picked up a 3-2 victory at AutoZone Park.

Camp had three hits and Snyder drove in a run. Ramon Ortiz took the loss after allowing three runs and striking out five over seven innings. In other news, the Cubs called up Justin Berg and optioned Jeff Stevens to Iowa. Berg was 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in five appearances for Iowa this year.
WHITE SOXCharlotte AAA
Brandon Hynick made one mistake Saturday night and it cost him. The big right-hander severed up a home run ball to Diory Hernandez in the fourth inning and that was the difference as Gwinnett County squeezed by Charlotte, 3-1, at Knights Stadium.

Hynick 0-2 allowed six hits over seven innings and got into trouble in the fourth by allowing back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before Hernandez deposited the ball over the left-field wall. Jordan Danks had an RBI single in the seventh for the Knights, who lost their second straight game and for the eighth time in 10 games. Gwinnetts Mike Minor took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Lastings Milledge connected for a two-out double.
Winston-Salem A
Jared Mitchell led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a homer Saturday night to give Winston-Salem a 3-2 victory and a doubleheader split with Wilmington at BB&T Park. It was Mitchells second homer of the season and completed a comeback that saw the Dash rally from a 2-0 deficit.

Ian Gacs two-run homer in the sixth knotted the score at 2-2, setting the stage for Mitchells heroics. It was Gacs sixth homer of the season. Ryan Kussmaul 3-0 earned the win with two perfect innings while Addison Reed also pitched two perfect innings in relief of Joe Serafin.

Wilmington scored nine runs over the final three innings of the opener to earn a 10-2 victory. Cameron Bayne, who hadnt given up a run in 14 innings this season prior to Saturday, allowed a first-inning run and then surrendered six more late before leaving following his five innings. His ERA jumped from 0.00 to 3.32. Dan Wagner had a pair of hits and an RBI.
Birmingham AA
Huntsville exploded for three eighth-inning runs Saturday night and stunned Birmingham, 4-3, at Regions Park. Chuck Caufields two-out, two-run double punctuated the inning.

Nate Jones was charged with all three runs in 23 of an inning to suffer the loss. Dylan Axelrod allowed a run on five hits while striking out seven over seven innings before turning it over to Jones.

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

Cubs are about to find out how Brewers will counter Jose Quintana move

Cubs are about to find out how Brewers will counter Jose Quintana move

MILWAUKEE – It’s nice that the Cubs like their dugout vibe again – except when John Lackey bumps into Anthony Rizzo – and Jose Quintana comes with three additional years of club control and Jake Arrieta says: “We expect to remain in first place.”

But after making it this far – ahead of schedule in a long rebuilding project – the Milwaukee Brewers are not at all conceding the National League Central.

The Cubs experienced a playoff-like environment in late July during Friday night’s 2-1 loss in front of a sellout crowd at Miller Park. Every year is different, the Cubs kept saying during all their stops and starts in the first half, and these next 60 games should feel like a real pennant race, not the cruise-control settings from last season.

How will the Brewers counter the Quintana move? Well, Harvard guy Brent Suter, a 31st-round pick from the 2012 draft, outpitched Quintana, a player the Brewers targeted and discussed in depth with the White Sox before Theo Epstein made his blockbuster deal during the All-Star break.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon sees an American League East-style lineup stocked with patient, powerful hitters, one that has kept the Brewers (55-50) within a half-game of first place, even after last week’s six-game losing streak.

Milwaukee also has an aggressive, involved owner (Mark Attanasio), a 30-something, Ivy League general manager (David Stearns), a top-10 farm system and the reality that chances like this don’t come around that often for small-market franchises with the July 31 trade deadline looming.

“You’re looking at what everybody else is doing,” Maddon said. “We’ve already been proactively in front of some other groups by getting that done. So now anything we can do on top of that in a positive vein, absolutely, is going to benefit us. I don’t doubt that the Brewers are probably going to do something.

“But at the end of the day, we just got to worry about what we’re doing. I think it’s going to be hard to duplicate what we’ve already done in regards to getting Quintana.” 

So much about his new existence is different, but Quintana has seen this movie so many times before with the White Sox, a tough-luck loss where he only gave up two runs in six innings. Jason Heyward also bailed out Quintana in the third inning with a spectacular leaping catch at the right-field wall to take a two-run homer away from Ryan Braun.

“It was a battle,” said Quintana, who is 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA in three starts for the defending World Series champs. “Every game counts. I’m really happy to feel that atmosphere every night when I go to the mound. It was a tough night for me, and we’ll come back tomorrow.”

After Suter limited the Cubs to four singles and a walk during seven scoreless innings, Javier Baez generated all the offense with a John Daly swing. Baez drove a pitch from Anthony Swarzak – the reliever making his Brewer debut after getting traded from the White Sox – off a stadium club window above the second deck in left field.

Baez admired his shot, stared out at the field and spit out a sunflower seed as he slowly began his home-run trot. Part of the crowd of 42,574 started chanting: “Let’s go, Cubbies!” The day before on the South Side, Maddon listened to a question about Arrieta’s prediction and talked about “baseball karma,” saying it’s “out there” and “it’s going to come back and bite you.”

“Milwaukee is not going anywhere,” Maddon said. “I don’t take anything for granted, man. I really approach the day the same all the time. My experience tells me that. If you are not doing that – if you start getting full of yourself and believe in whatever – it’s going to go away real quickly.

“There’s nothing wrong with saying: ‘I feel it. I like where we’re at. I like the way the guys are reacting. I like the energy.’ Those are all good thoughts, good words. But when you start getting full of yourself and thinking it’s going to come easily – that’s the trap.”

Whether or not the Cubs and/or Brewers make a splash on July 31, these two teams will clash nine more times within the next two months.

“It will be cool,” said Kyle Schwarber, who struck out swinging at Corey Knebel’s 97-mph fastball with a runner on third base to end this game. “We’re going to be playing our baseball. We can’t be worried about whatever the division is. We got to worry about ourselves and play our game and go from there.”

Wake-up Call: Jose Quintana picks up first Cubs loss; White Sox lose again

Wake-up Call: Jose Quintana picks up first Cubs loss; White Sox lose again

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