We're starting with Daytona because . . .
The Daytona Cubs clinched the second-half division title by sweeping the Dunedin Blue Jays, 6-2 and 3-0. (Technically, they clinched earlier in the day when Clearwater lost.) The win extended Daytona's winning streak to eight.
In the first game, starter C.J. Edwards held Dunedin scoreless for four innings, although he did run into some trouble in the fifth inning. Edwards pitched 4.1 innings and allowed two runs on five hits. He struck out five and walked one.
Lendy Castillo pitched the final 2.2 innings for his second win, as Edwards didn't go five. Castillo gave up only hit. He struck out one and walked one.
First baseman Dustin Geiger got the Cubs off to a good start with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. It was Geiger's 16th home run of the season. Geiger was 1 for 3 with a walk and two runs scored.
Geiger scored his second run in the third inning when DH Kris Bryant clubbed his fourth Daytona home run. It was Bryant's eighth home run if you count Boise and 39th if you count the University of San Diego. Bryant was 1 for 3.
Third baseman Ben Carhart was 2 for 3.
They were just playing for pride and to extend the winning streak in game two, but the D-Cubs came through with their eighth straight win. Yao-Lin Wang and Ryan Searle combined for a two-hitter. Wang allowed one hit over the first four innings. He struck out three and walked two. Searle pitched the final three innings and got the win. He allowed a single to the first batter he faced, but that and an error were the only baserunners he allowed. Searle struck out four.
Third baseman Wes Darvill was 3 for 3 with a double and two runs scored.
Starter Kyle Hendricks gave up two runs in the first inning when the first four batters he faced singled. After that, he was magnificent, allowing only two more hits (six total) the rest of his eight innings. Hendricks walked one and struck out four as his Iowa record improved to 3-0.
Brian Schlitter pitched the ninth inning and got three groundouts in a perfect outing for his 20th save. The save was Schlitter's 33rd career Iowa Cubs save, tying him for fourth on the all-time list with Laddie Renfroe. Blake Parker is the all-time Iowa saves leader with 41.
DH Edgar Gonzalez had two doubles and two runs scored in a 2 for 4 game. Right fielder Ty Wright went 2 for 4 with three RBI and one bizarre run scored when the Omaha catcher used his mask to corral the ball and Wright was awarded home plate on a rules violation.
Iowa now trails Omaha by three games with five to play. They trail Memphis by two with five top play. Iowa and Omaha play one more game in Des Moines tomorrow and then Iowa travels to Nashville for four games to end the season. I'd suggest they win their final five games if they want to make the playoffs, although their elimination number stands at three. Obviously losing to Omaha tomorrow would cut that number to one, so that's pretty much a must-win. Casey Coleman will take the mound for Iowa against Yordano Ventura.
A well-deserved day off. They have a five-game series at Chattanooga starting tomorrow and then start the Southern League playoffs at Birmingham on Thursday, September 5.
Kane County Cougars
The Kane County Cougars detasseled the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Twins), 9-1.
Scott Baker retired the first thirteen batters he faced before giving up a one-out single in the fifth. That was the only baserunner he would allow over five innings. Baker struck out two and didn't walk anyone.
Third baseman Jeimer Candelario broke a scoreless tie in the third inning with a three-run home run, his 11th of the season. Candelario also doubled and walked in a 2 for 4 game. He scored three runs.
Catcher Carlos Escobar made it 5-0 with a two-run home run in the fourth. It was Escobar's fourth home run. He was 1 for 5.
The Boise Hawks capped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Giants), 10-6.
Michael Wagner pitched three scoreless innings to start the game. Wagner allowed two hits. He walked one and struck out one.
Sam Wilson and Juan Paniagua each pitched two innings and each allowed three runs. That meant that Carlos Martinez-Pumarino was awarded the win as the most effective pitcher other than Wagner, who didn't pitch five innings. Martinez-Pumarino allowed three hits but no runs over the final two innings. He struck out three and walked one.
First baseman Jacob Rogers and right fielder Yasiel Balaguert hit back-to-back home runs in the third inning. Rogers' home run was his eighth home run and came with man on. He was 3 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored.
It was also Balaguert's eighth home run. He was 1 for 5 with two total RBI.
DH Justin Marra hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning. It was his sixth home run this season and his fourth in the last three games against Salem-Keizer. Marra was 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. He scored two runs.
In the seventh inning, center fielder Kevin Encarnacion grounded out. That broke a streak of ten straight hits he had against Salem-Keizer. Encarnacion was 4 for 5 with a stolen base. He scored twice.
Hillsboro lost, so Boise takes a one-game lead over both the Hops and the Volcanoes with five games to play.
Off-day. Their season ends tomorrow in a game against the Diamondbacks.