Tonight is all about the Smokies.
Smokies pitcher Eric Jokisch threw a nine-inning no-hitter and defeated the Jacksonville Suns (Marlins), 10-0. Not only was it the Smokies first no-hitter since 2007 and the first nine-inning no-hitter since 2000, it snapped an 11 game winning streak by the Suns.
Jokisch was masterful through the first seven innings, allowing just only a one-out walk in the fourth inning and a two-out walk in the seventh. He threw only 81 pitches through seven. But the two-out walk in the seventh was a sign that Jokisch was weakening, and he struggled to retire the side in the eighth. He needed 18 pitches to get out of the inning and issued a two-out, four-pitch walk.
When Jokisch came out for the ninth, the first batter, Isaac Galloway, swung at the first pitch and hit a screaming liner that looked like it was ticketed for left field, but third baseman Christian Villanueva made a leaping spear of the play for the first out.
The next batter, Chris Gutierrez, didn't hit the ball quite as hard, but it looked like it was placed perfectly. He hit a dying line drive up the middle on the second pitch. Shortstop Javier Baez went to his left and made a diving catch of a ball that everyone in the ballpark thought was heading into center field.
Jokisch walked the next batter on four pitches, but the reason behind that was that the Suns had run out of hitters on their bench and the pitcher was due up next. Jokisch got Pete Andrelczyk to hit a ground ball to third base that Villanueva threw to Justin Bour at first base to end the game and clinch the no-hitter.
Jokisch walked four and struck out eight. At the plate, Jokisch went 2 for 4 with a walk. He scored one run and batted one in.
Jokisch's performance overshadowed a big game from Baez, who was 4 for 6 with two doubles and three RBI. He also scored three times and stole a base.
Right fielder Rubi Silva was 3 for 5 with a walk. Silva scored twice and had one run batted in.
Center fielder Matt Szczur went 2 for 5 with a double and a walk. He scored once.
Second baseman Jonathan Mota was 2 for 5 with two RBI.
Even more amazing, this was Jokisch's first start coming off the disabled list. To make room for Jokisch, RHP Kevin Rhoderick was released.
The Iowa Cubs strip mined the Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners), 10-3.
Yoanner Negrin tossed the first four innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits. Negrin struck out seven and walked only one.
Iowa finished out the game with five different relievers each throwing one inning. Nick Struck pitched the fifth inning without allowing a hit and was awarded the win. Struck walked one and struck out one.
The I-Cubs hit six home runs today. Second baseman Edgar Gonzalez hit three of them, all solo shots. The first was in the first inning to make the score 2-0. The second one came in the fifth inning and the last one came in the seventh. Gonzalez now has five home runs this season. He was 5 for 6 with four total RBI.
Left fielder Darnell McDonald hit a home run to leadoff the game for the second straight game. It was his fourth home run this year. McDonald was 2 for 6 with two RBI. He also stole a base.
In the sixth inning, right fielder Dave Sappelt hit the only home run with runners on when he hit a two-run shot. It was his third of the season. Sappelt was 2 for 6.
Going back-to-back with Sappelt, third baseman Mike Olt hit his first home run as a Cub and 12th of the season. Olt went 1 for 2 with three walks. He scored twice.
Catcher Cael Brockmeyer got an emergency call up from Boise to Iowa and went 1 for 3 with a walk.
The good news is that they weren't rained out. The bad news is that they had a scheduled off-day. The bad news is that there is a 40% chance of thunderstorms in Clearwater tomorrow night.
Kane County Cougars
The Kane County Cougars chopped down the Clinton LumberKings (Mariners), 6-2.
Starting pitcher Tayler Scott pitched the first five innings and got his fifth win. He allowed two runs on six hits and three walks. He didn't strike anyone out.
Michael Hamann threw a scoreless inning in the ninth in a non-save situation. He has yet to allow a run in 11 innings at Kane County and has not allowed an earned run in 18.2 innings this season.
Center fielder Oliver Zapata hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning to give Kane County a 3-1 lead that they never relinquished. It was his sixth home run this year. Zapata was 2 for 4 with a walk and a stolen base.
Left fielder Reggie Golden hit a his seventh home run to lead off the ninth inning. He wa 1 for 4.
Second baseman Gioskar Amaya went 3 for 5 with a double. Amaya scored twice and had one RBI. He also stole a base.
Catcher Carlos Escobar went 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored.
Albert Almora went on the 7 day DL with a minor groin strain. He's expected to miss the minimum, or close to it.
The South Division All-Stars beat the North Division All-Stars, 8-7. (Boise is in the South.)
Carlos Penalver was 0 for 2. David Bote was 0 for 1 with a HBP. Yasiel Balaguert was 0 for 2 with a walk. Jacob Rogers was 1 for 3 with an RBI. Lance Rymel was 0 for 2 with a walk and a run scored.