Valbuena! Luis Valbuena hit the winning home run in the top of the ninth. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
It's my birthday today so after I finish writing this, I'm taking the rest of the night off. I'm telling you this now. So if you ask a question at midnight tonight, don't expect an answer by 2 am.
I was a Tony Zych meltdown away from having a pretty nice birthday present, as three of the four teams in the Cubs system won.
The Iowa Cubs made the Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals) blue, 2-1.
Rodrigo Lopez started the game, threw one pitch and was removed for an injury. (The pitch was a strike, though.) So Jay Jackson took over for Lopez and was pretty good, allowing but one run on three hits over five innings. Jackson walked two and struck out five.
Carlos Marmol pitched the sixth inning tonight on a rehab appearance. He gave up a walk and a double with one out, but then got a strikeout and a ground out to end the threat.
Scott Maine loaded the bases with two-out in the ninth inning, but got a foul out to end the game. Maine pitched two scoreless innings and collected his third win of the season. Maine allowed one hit and he walked two while striking out one.
The game was tied 1-1 going to the ninth inning when Luis Valbuena hit a two-out solo home run. Valbuena went 1 for 4. It was his sixth home run this season.
The Tennessee Smokies held the Mobile BayBears (Diamondbacks) at bay, 4-3.
Eric Jokisch made his first appearance in Double-A this season a very good one. Mobile could only manage one hit off of him over five innings. The bad news is that he issued his only walk before it and the hit was a two-run home run. Those were the only two baserunners Jokisch allowed. He struck out three.
Alberto Cabrera allowed a lead-off triple to Evan Frey in the ninth and allowed him to score on a wild pitch. But that was still good enough for his fourth save. Cabrera allowed one run on one hit over one inning. He struck out two.
Left fielder Jae-Hoon Ha led off the game with his second home run of the year. Ha went 1 for 5.
Catcher Luis Flores also hit a solo home run in the fourth inning. Flores also doubled in a 2 for 4 game. Flores walked once and scored two runs.
Third baseman Matt Cerda was 0 for 3 with three walks. He stole a base and scored a run.
Center fielder Jim Adduci was 2 for 2 with a walk and a stolen base. He also exited the game in the eighth with an apparent injury after he was tagged out on a play at the plate. Adduci had one RBI.
The Daytona Cubs were chewed up by the Clearwater Threshers (Philles), 2-1.
Austin Kirk was brilliant through eight scoreless innings tonight. Kirk allowed seven hits and didn't walk anyone, although he did hit one batter. Kirk fanned four.
But Tony Zych couldn't hammer down the save in the ninth inning. Zych blew his fifth save of the season after giving up two runs on three hits. Zych did have one strikeout and did not walk anyone.
Right fielder Rubi Silva was 2 for 4. He score Daytona's only run when third baseman Dustin Harrington singled him home in the seventh inning. Silva was 2 for 3.
Catcher Micah Gibbs was 2 for 4.
The Peoria Chiefs buzz-sawed the Clinton LumberKings (Mariners), 3-1.
Starling Peralta made his first start of the season and gave up only one run over four innings. Peralta was touched for five hits and he walked one. Peralta struck out two.
Larry Suarez got the win because Peralta didn't go five, but he actually pitched well. Suarez pitched two scoreless innings, giving up only one hit. He did walk two and strike out one.
Luis Liria earned his first save of the season in Mike Marshall fashion, pitching three scoreless innings to close out the game. Liria allowed only two hits. He fanned two Clinton hitters and didn't walk any of them.
The Chiefs got two runs in the first inning when they got three straight hits with two outs, including a Paul Hoilman triple. Hoilman was 1 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored. First baseman Ryan Cuneo singled home Hoilman in the first inning. Cuneo went 2 for 4.
Second baseman Zeke DeVoss was 2 for 4 with a double in the seventh inning that led to the Chiefs' third run. DeVoss was 2 for 4.