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Chicago Cubs Minor League Playoff Wrap: September 8

The two teams that needed to win to claim a title lost. The team that needed to win to stay alive won. This brings up two decisive games on Monday and Daytona will have their second of three chances to clinch.

Arismendy Alcantara
Arismendy Alcantara

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies forced a game five in their best-of-five divisional series with a 10-7 win over the Birmingham Barons (White Sox).

Eduardo Figueroa started this game but he didn't last long. He allowed a run in the first and a run in the third before he was pulled for A.J. Morris with the bases loaded and one out. Morris struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning with Tennessee only trailing 2-0.

Figueroa's final line was 2.1 innings pitched, allowing two runs on three hits. He struck out one, walked four and hit one batter.

Morris stayed in the game and got the win when Tennessee scored two runs in the bottom of the third and three in the fourth. Morris's final line was 2.2 innings, allowing a run on one hit. He walked two and struck out two.

The Smokies had a 10-4 lead going to the top of the ninth when P.J. Francescon, who got the last two outs of the eighth inning, allowed two singles and a home run to cut Tennessee's lead to 10-7. Francescon then left for Frank Batista, who got a ground out to end the game and get the save.

Francescon allowed three runs on three hits and a walk over 1.1 innings. He struck out one.

The Smokies tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the third on a two-run single by second baseman Arismendy Alcantara, scoring catcher Taylor Davis and center fielder Matt Szczur. They then took the lead in the fourth on an RBI single by third baseman Jonathan Mota and a two-run double by Szczur.

Silva was 4 for 4 with three runs scored. Szczur was 1 for 3 with a double, a walk and a stolen base. He scored one run and had three RBI.

Davis had two doubles in a 2 for 4 game He scored once and had two runs batted in. Alcantara was 2 for 5 with two RBI. He also stole a base.

Mota was 2 for 3 with a walk and a two-run triple in eighth inning. Mota scored three times and had a total of three runs batted in.

This sets up a decisive game five between the Barons and the Smokies tomorrow night at 6:15 Chicago time.

Daytona Cubs

The Daytona Cubs allowed two runs in the ninth inning to fall to the Charlotte Stone Crabs (Rays), 3-2.

This game looked to be an exact rerun of yesterday's game, with starter Corey Black shutting down Charlotte and the D-Cubs scoring a run in the first inning and one in the seventh. Black extended the Cubs record of not allowing an earned run in the postseason to 42 innings by throwing six scoreless innings and he faced the first batter of the seventh. He allowed only one hit. Black walked two, hit a batter and struck out two.

Jeffrey Lorick replaced Black in the seventh inning and Daytona looked to be on their way to a sweep when he tossed a perfect seventh inning. But the scoreless streak ended in the eighth with a leadoff home run off of Lorick by pinch-hitter Jonathan Quinonez. Lorick then got a groundout and was relieved by Austin Reed, who allowed a double before the game was delayed by rain.

After a one hour, thirty-three minute rain delay, Zach Cates took the mound and gave up a single to the first batter he faced. But Zeke DeVoss gunned the pinch-runner down at the plate to preserve Daytona's 2-1 lead. Charlotte's manager was ejected and to be fair, even the Daytona announcers thought the umpire blew the call, although they said it was very, very close.

But Cates came out for the ninth and had nothing. He walked the first batter he faced and after a failed sacrifice bunt got one out. Cates walked another batter. Then he allowed the game-tying single and the game-winning single to Quinonez to end the game in short order.

Right fielder Pin-Chieh Chen was 3 for 4 and scored the run in the top of the first. Catcher Chadd Krist went 1 for 3 with an RBI double in the seventh.

So Daytona will try to win their sixth Florida State League Championship since returning to Daytona in 1993 tomorrow night at 5:30 Chicago time. C.J. Edwards will take the mound for Daytona.

Boise Hawks

The Boise Hawks lost to the Vancouver Canadians (Blue Jays), 4-2, sitting up a decisive game three of the best-of-three series tomorrow night.

The Hawks got a great start out of Paul Blackburn, going five innings and allowing only one run in the first inning. Blackburn allowed three hits and he walked one while striking out nine.

Corbin Hoffner started the sixth inning with the score tied 1-1, but he gave up one run in the sixth and two in the seventh to take the loss. Hoffner allowed three runs on five hits over 1.1 innings. He walked one and struck out one.

Boise got a run back in the eighth inning to cut the lead to 4-2 and had David Bote come to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs, but Bote struck out to end the threat. The Hawks did get a leadoff single from Jordan Hankins in the ninth, but he never got past first base.

The Hawks were playing this game shorthanded, and when center fielder Kevin Encarnacion got picked off first base in the fifth inning, he was ejected for spiking his helmet. That meant that relief pitcher Sam Wilson ended up playing three innings in center field, although he was pinch-hit for when it was his turn to bat.

Hankins was 2 for 4 with a two-out RBI double in the second inning, scoring Bote from first base. Bote was 1 for 3 with a walk.

Shortstop Danny Lockhart was 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the eighth. Right fielder Rony Rodriguez was 1 for 2 with a double and two walks.

They'll play the decisive game three of the series tomorrow night in Vancouver at 9:05 Chicago time. Michael Wagner is scheduled to start for Boise.