We had two "Everybody wins" nights followed by an "everyone loses" night last night. Tonight we're back to "everybody wins."
The Iowa Cubs plucked the Memphis Redbirds, 4-1.
Jeff Samardzija was back in the rotation tonight and turned in a strong, albeit short, start. Samardzija allowed only one run over four innings, and that run was unearned. He gave up only one single. He walked two and struck out five.
John Gaub got the win with an inning of scoreless relief. He did allow one hit and he walked a batter. He had one strikeout.
Brian Schlitter picked up save number eight. He pitched the final two innings and allowed only one baserunner on a single in the ninth, and retired that batter on a double play. Schlitter did not record a strikeout.
Shortstop Darwin Barney seems to have become a favorite around here, and tonight he was 2 for 5 with a double. Second baseman Bobby Scales was also 2 for 5 with a double, but he also scored once and knocked one in. Third baseman Marquez Smith was 2 for 4.
The Smokies cut and polished the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, 7-3.
Austin Bibens-Dirkx pitched the Smokies back into the win column with the textbook quality start: three runs over six innings. Bibens-Dirkx gave up five hits and walked two. He struck out eight. He actually faced the first batter of the seventh inning, but was pulled after he allowed a solo home run.
Three Smokies went yard tonight. Outfielder Brandon Guyer hit his second homer in three days in the eight inning, a three-run blast that put the game out of reach. Guyer went 2 for 4 with a walk.
Matt Spencer and Russ Canzler both hit solo home runs. Spencer was 2 for 3 with a walk and he scored three times. Canzler was 2 for 4 and had two RBI.
Guyer now has three home runs this season, Spencer seven and Canzler six.
Shortstop Nate Samson was 2 for 5 with a triple.
The Smokies now have a 1.5 game lead over the Diamond Jaxx with eight games left to play in the first half. They will play West Tennessee three more times in this series.
All-Star Break. Outfielder Brett Jackson and pitchers Rafael Dolis and Aaron Shafer have been named to the North Team.
The Peoria Chiefs sunk the Great Lakes Loons, 5-1.
Starter Trey McNutt has been having a great season so far. Tonight he pitched five shutout innings and allowed only three hits. He walked one and struck out seven. McNutt has now allowed one run or less in his past six starts. His record on the season improved to 5-0 and his ERA dropped to 1.65.
First baseman Justin Bour hit a two-run home run and had three RBI overall in a 2 for 4 game.