Before we get to the good stuff, I'd like to offer my condolences to the Peoria Chiefs and the Vonachen family after the passing of "Pete" Vonachen, long-time Peoria Chiefs owner and close friend of the late Harry Caray. Vonachen synonymous with baseball in Peoria, and he and his family were wonderful hosts of the Cubs farm system for many years. He will be missed.
Now, let me just say I picked a bad night to spend with my family. #baezbomb
We're starting in Daytona because the Cubs dispelled the Ft. Myers Miracle (Twins), 9-6 behind four home runs by Javier Baez.
Baez hit a two-run home run in the first inning, a solo home run in the third, a three-run bomb in the fifth and a bases empty home run in the seventh. That's 4 for 4 with 7 RBI.
He is only the second player in the 94 year history of the Florida State League to hit four home runs in one game. I'm sure someone is going to have to mention that the other player was Ryan Harvey. Someone else will mention he didn't walk.
Zach Cates started this game and got the win, even though he allowed four runs on seven hits over six innings. One of the four runs was unearned, however. More impressive, Cates struck out six and didn't walk anyone.
Frank Del Valle had to come into the game with two on and one out in the ninth inning to protect the three-run lead. Del Valle walked the first batter he faced to load the bases (and bring the go-ahead run to the plate), but Del Valle struck out the next two batters for his fourth save.
The Iowa Cubs were OK over the Oklahoma City RedHawks (Astros), 7-6. The win was Iowa's fourth in a row.
Yoanner Negrin pitched the first five innings. He gave up five runs on ten hits, including two home runs. Negrin walked two and struck out eight.
Casey Coleman pitched three shutout innings of relief. Coleman has not allowed a run in 18.1 innings, a span that stretched back to May 22.
Brian Schlitter allowed a run in the ninth inning to make the score close, but the tying run was gunned down by catcher Luis Flores trying to steal second, ending the game. Schlitter gave up two hits. He did not issue a walk and struck out one.
Any other day, the fact that DH Brad Nelson hit two home runs tonight, the day after he hit two more home runs, would be the lead story. Instead, we'll just have to mention that Nelson hit solo home runs in the second and fifth innings and now has twelve on the year. Nelson was 2 for 4.
Second baseman Logan Watkins was 2 for 5 with a double and two runs batted in. Shortstop Donnie Murphy was 2 for 5.
The Smokies were extinguished by the Mobile BayBears (Diamondbacks), 4-3.
Stater A.J. Morris gave the Smokies a great chance to win after he exited with a 3-0 lead after 5.1 innings. But Zach Rosscup allowed one runner inherited from Morris to score and two more in the sixth to tie the game back up. Morris allowed the one run on only two hits. He did not walk a batter and he struck out four.
Kevin Rhoderick took the loss after he walked a batter with two out in the bottom of the ninth, allowed hime to steal second and he scored on a walk-off single. In the two-third of an inning he pitched, Rhoderick struck out one.
Catcher Rafael Lopez had two doubles in a 2 for 4 game. He scored once.
Third baseman Christian Villanueva and second baseman Arismendy Alcantara were both 2 for 4 with a run scored and a caught stealing.
Kane County Cougars
The Kane County Cougars were corn-eared by the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Twins), 6-2.
Starter Pierce Johnson did fine when he didn't have to pitch to Byron Buxton. But unfortunately, he did have to pitch to Buxton who hit a three-run double off of Johnson in the fifth inning. Johnson's final line was five runs on seven hits over 4.2 innings. Johnson walked two and struck out four.
First baseman Rock Shoulders was 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored. Left fielder Oliver Zapata was 2 for 3 and scored the other Cougars run.