Tonight we're starting with the Smokies, because. . .
The Tennessee Smokies clinched a second-half division title with a 6-0 shutout of the Mobile BayBears (Diamondbacks).
Matt Loosen had his best start since returning to the Smokies in late July with seven scoreless innings, allowing only three hits. Loosen walked three and struck out six as he collected his second Smokies win and seventh overall.
In the seventh inning, shortstop Javier Baez crushed his 35th home run of the season right out of Smokies Park. It traveled an estimated 415 feet to left field and came with a man on. In the first inning, Baez lined a single to left field, scoring Matthew Szczur and giving the Smokies an early 1-0 lead. In the third inning, he just missed a three run home run, but settled for a sacrifice fly, scoring Szczur again. Baez was 2 for 3 with his 18th Double-A home run and four RBI.
Center fielder Szczur was 2 for 4 and scored twice.
The Iowa Cubs clipped the Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals) 2-1.
Yoanner Negrin allowed a run in the first inning, but didn't allow another one in a complete game victory. Negrin allowed the one run on six hits. He walked one and struck out six.
Right fielder Ty Wright had two doubles in a 3 for 4 game. He singled and scored in the third inning and doubled home Jae-Hoon Ha in the fourth, accounting for both Iowa runs.
Center fielder Ha was 2 for 4 and threw out a runner at the plate in the first inning, preventing a bigger inning.
Third baseman Mike Olt was 0 for 1 with three walks.
The game was suspended after three innings with Daytona leading 2-0. They'll finish it tomorrow.
I promise you that Daytona is going to finish this season. Probably in the playoffs. Their magic number is now 4.
Kane County Cougars
The Kane County Cougars were downed by the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Brewers), 4-2.
James Pugliese's second Kane County start was a lot better than his first one, but he got the loss in this game and a no-decision in the first one. Pugliese allowed three runs on six hits over six innings. He struck out four and didn't walk anyone.
Both Kane County runs came in the second inning. Catcher Willson Contreras was 3 for 4 with one run scored. Shortstop Marco Hernandez was 2 for 4 with one run scored. Center fielder Oliver Zapata was 2 for 4 and drove home Contreras. That's all seven hits the Cougars had.
The Boise Hawks came from behind and jumped past the Hillsboro Hops (Diamondbacks) 4-3. This game was delayed twice by rain and many of the early innings were played in a strong downpour.
Jose Rosario threw the first three innings and allowed three runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out two.
Jasvir Rakkar relieved Rosario and got the win. He tossed three scoreless innings, allowing only two hits. Most impressively, Rakkar struck out six and didn't walk anyone.
Loiger Padron had two hitless innings in relief of Rakkar, preserving Boise's lead. Then Eddie Orozco pitched the ninth inning and struck out the first two batters he faced before allowing a two-out single. Then he struck out the final batter to end the game. It was Orozco's third save.
The Hawks got their first run on a fourth-inning solo home run by Kevin Encarnacion, his seventh of the season and sixth for the Hawks. He was 1 for 4.
The Hawks came back and scored three runs in the top of the seventh to take a lead they didn't relinquish. The key play in this inning was a two-run error.
Shortstop Carlos Penalver was 2 for 2 with two walks and a stolen base. He scored one run.
With the win, the Hawks move into a three-way tie for first place with Hillsboro and Salem-Keizer with six to play. On Wednesday, they start a six-game homestand playing three against Salem-Keizer and then three against Hillsboro. Boise makes the playoffs if either they or Salem-Keizer win the second half title.