Two teams reached the .500 mark tonight and the Boise Hawks made their season debut a long one.
The Iowa Cubs lost to the Albuquerque Isotopes (Dodgers), 4-3 for their fifth straight defeat.
Frankie De La Cruz was effective for five innings, giving up one run on five hits. De La Cruz walked two and struck out three.
Mike MacDougal entered the game in the top of the eighth and had some troubles, giving up three runs on two hits and a walk. He only retired one batter before exiting. That out was a strikeout, however. It was MacDougal's second loss this year.
Second baseman Alfredo Amezaga was 3 for 5 with an RBI. Shortstop Matt Tolbert was 3 for 4 and batted in a run.
Left fielder Ty Wright went 2 for 4 and scored a run. Catcher Juan Apodaca went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo returned to the lineup tonight. Rizzo was 1 for 3 with a walk.
The Tennessee Smokies defenestrated the Birmingham Barons (White Sox), 6-3. The Smokies have now won ten of their last eleven games.
Starting pitcher Dallas Beeler got the win by allowing three runs over five innings. Beeler gave up seven hits and walked three. Beeler recorded one strike out.
Ty'Relle Harris threw three perfect innings in relief of Beeler. He struck out one.
Brian Schlitter struggled a bit to get his second save, but he did get it without allowing a run. He pitched the ninth inning and allowed a hit and a walk, bringing the tying run to the plate, before retiring the final two batters. Schlitter had one strikeout. It was Schlitter's 50th minor league career save.
Second baseman Logan Watkins was 3 for 4 with a walk and a stolen base. Watkins scored once.
Shorstop Junior Lake was 2 for 5 with two steals. Lake scored twice. Catcher Michael Brenly went 2 for 3 with a walk and an RBI.
The win brings the Smokies back to .500 at 34-34 with two more games in the first half. They also wore the Cubs blue alternate jerseys tonight (with a Smokies arm patch) as it was "All Things Chicago" night. So it was kind of like watching the Cubs reach .500. Such sad dreams.
It's All-Star Weekend in the Florida State League. Austin Kirk will be the starting pitcher tomorrow. Other D-Cubs on the team are Arismendy Alcantara, Nelson Perez and Greg Rohan.
The Peoria Chiefs sawed the Clinton Lumberkings (Mariners) in two, 6-4.
Starling Peralta allowed three runs in the second inning on two home runs. But he settled down after that and picked up his first win. Peralta allowed four total runs on five hits over 5.1 innings. He walked three and struck out four.
Yao-Lin Wang pitched the final 1.2 innings for his ninth save of the season. He allowed two hits but no runs. Wang didn't walk anyone and struck out three.
Third baseman Dustin Geiger went 3 for 5. He scored once and had one RBI. Center fielder Pin-Chieh Chen was 2 for 4 with a walk. He also scored once and knocked one in. He also stole a base. Finally, DH Zeke DeVoss went 2 for 5 and scored once.
Left fielder Yasiel Balaguert was 4 for 4 with an RBI.
The win returns the Chiefs to .500 on the season, also at 34-34.
Jose Arias's season debut was a good one. He pitched five scoreless innings, allowing only three singles. He didn't walk anyone and struck out two.
Matt Spencer's official debut as a pitcher was a rough one, although his defense let him down a bit too. He allowed two runs on a hit and two walks. One of the two runs was unearned, thanks to the second error of the game by shortstop Marco Hernandez. Spencer struck out two, although one of those strikeouts reached on one of his two wild pitches.
The Hawks came back and tied the game in the top of the ninth, but Pete Levitt took the loss when he gave up a run in the twelfth. Levitt pitched a third of an inning and gave up two hits. The winning run scored on a ground ball that Hernandez failed to play cleanly. It was ruled a fielder's choice, but it could have been his third error. Levitt did not strike anyone out or walk anyone.
Hernandez did go 2 for 5 at the plate.
Left fielder Xavier Batista went 2 for 4 with two doubles and a walk.
Center fielder Shawon Dunston Jr. went 0 for 3 with two walks. I mention this because he already has as many walks this season as his dad did in the entire 1999 season (in 255 plate appearances), or 2001 (in 193).