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Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: August 31

Iowa is hot on the heels of the division-leading OKC Dodgers.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Congratulations to Carlos Pimentel, who was named to the Pacific Coast League Year-End All-Star Team. Also, I-Cubs pitcher Eric Jokisch was named PCL Pitcher of the Week.

The minor league regular season ends a week from today.

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs stopped the Oklahoma City Dodgers, 9-3 in the first game of a crucial five-game series.

The I-Cubs staked starter Felipe Paulino to a three-run lead in the top of the first, but he gave it right back, giving up a three-run home run to Kyle Jensen in the bottom of the inning. But those were the final runs that Paulino or any other I-Cubs pitcher would allow. Paulino got the win after pitching five innings and giving up three runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out three.

Zac Rosscup tossed two perfect innings, striking out three. Rafael Soriano threw one perfect inning, striking out one. P.J. Francescon pitched the ninth in his Triple-A debut and gave up two singles, but a double play between them meant no runs scored. Francescon did not have a strikeout.

Iowa won this game because they drew 12 walks. First baseman Taylor Davis went 3 for 4 with a walk and three RBI. He scored once.

With the win, Iowa cuts OKC's lead in the division to three games with eight to play. On July 5, Iowa trailed the Dodgers by 11 games.  Iowa went 22-8 in the month of August.

The two teams play four more games with each other, including a doubleheader starting tomorrow at 4:35. Iowa will probably need to win all four of the games remaining with OKC to earn their first playoff berth since 2008.

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies eclipsed the Jacksonville Suns (Marlins), 9-1.

Starter Ryan Williams improved his record on the season to 14-3 as he shut down the Suns for six scoreless innings. He gave up four hits. He walked nobody and struck out two.

Center fielder Albert Almora continued his strong month of August by going 2 for 4 with a double, a triple and a walk. Almora scored twice and had one run batted in.

Shortstop Ryan Dent was 2 for 2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch. He scored one run and had one RBI. First baseman Daniel Vogelbach was 2 for 5 and scored twice.

Catcher Willson Contreras was 2 for 5. Right fielder Bijan Rademacher hit a three-run triple and a sac fly for 4 total RBI. He was 1 for 3.

Unfortunately, Montgomery won and clinched the second-half title in the Southern League North Division, eliminating the Smokies from post-season consideration.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans

Last off day. Myrtle Beach is going to the playoffs by winning the first-half division title.

South Bend Cubs

The South Bend Cubs left the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays) choking on fumes, 10-4.

Starter Trevor Clifton got the win after he allowed just one run on three hits over six innings. Clifton walked two and struck out three.

Right fielder Jeffrey Baez hit a grand slam in the second inning, his ninth home run of the season. Baez went 2 for 5 and scored twice.

Center fielder Rashad Crawford hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning. It was his fourth blast of the season. Crawford went 1 for 3 with a walk. He scored twice.

DH Charcer Burks was 3 for 5 with a double and three RBI. Burks scored twice. First baseman Gioskar Amaya was 2 for 5 with two doubles. He had a run scored and an RBI.

Left fielder Ian Happ was 2 for 5 with a double.

Eugene Emeralds

Last off day. They have a three-game lead over Salem-Keizer for the final playoff spot with six games to play. They start a three-game series in S-K tomorrow.

AZL Cubs

The one-game playoff between the Cubs and the Mariners was suspended in the 4th inning, tied 1-1 because of rain. I assume they'll finish it tomorrow and then move the championship game back one day.