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Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: September 2

The Emeralds make the playoffs! The Ems make the playoffs!

Bryan Hudson
Bryan Hudson
Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans

We’re going to lead with the Eugene Emeralds tonight.

Eugene Emeralds

Despite having the worst overall record in the Northwest League, the Eugene Emeralds clinched a playoff spot with a 4-2 win over the Boise Hawks (Rockies).

Jack Patterson made his Eugene debut in this game, pitching the first five innings and allowing two runs on six hits. The 32nd-round pick in the 2018 draft walked two and struck out six.

Eugenio Palma faced one batter in the bottom of the eighth inning and retired him on a grounder to second. He got the win when the Ems scored in the top of the ninth.

Ivan Medina pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth and got the save, but not before putting runners on second and third with two outs. Medina gave up one hit, walked one and struck out two.

Right fielder Jonathan Sierra had a two-out RBI single in the top of the ninth inning to give Eugene their first lead of the game. The Emeralds got an extra run on the play after the Hawks center fielder made a bad throw. Sierra was 2 for 5 with the one RBI.

The other two Ems runs came on solo home runs. First baseman Grant Fennell homered in the fifth inning, his fourth of the season. Fennell went 2 for 4 with a walk and he scored the go-ahead run in the ninth.

Center fielder Fernando Kelli homered in the sixth inning, his third of the year. Kelli was 2 for 4.

Left fielder Nelson Velazquez went 2 for 5.

Third baseman Levi Jordan went 2 for 4. He walked and scored on the error in the ninth inning.

Earlier in the evening, the Hillsboro Hops beat the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, 9-7 to cut the Ems magic number down to one. The Hops had to come back trailing 7-2 in the sixth inning to do it.

The win puts the Emeralds overall record this season at 31-44 with one game to play. That’s the worst record in the Northwest League. However, their second-half record is 17-20, which puts them in second place, nine games behind the Hillsboro Hops. But since the Hops won both halves of the season, the second playoff spot goes to the team that finished second in the second half. With a one-game lead over third-place Salem-Keizer and the tiebreaker in hand with only one game to go, the Emeralds clinched a playoff spot.

The best-of-three game series will start on Wednesday at PK Park in Eugene.

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs missed the Round Rock Express (Rangers), 7-5.

Tyler Chatwood started this game and faced the minimum through two innings thanks to a pair of 5-4-3 double plays. But things fell apart for Chatwood in the third inning when he walked four and hit one batter alongside a triple, leading to five runs and the loss. The final line on Chatwood was five runs on two hits over 2.1 innings. Chatwood walked five, hit one batter and struck out just one.

Right fielder Jacob Hannemann hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning, his sixth of the season. Hannemann was 2 for 4.

Third baseman Jason Vosler was 2 for 4 2 with a double. He scored twice.

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies had their line snapped by the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Reds), 4-3.

Starter Michael Rucker turned in five innings while surrendering two runs on two hits, one of which was a two-run home run in the fourth. Rucker walked four and struck out four. He also hit one batter.

The loss went to Scott Effross, who gave up two runs in the seventh inning on another two-run home run. Effross allowed two runs on four hits over two innings of relief. Effross struck out three and didn’t walk anyone.

Two of Tennessee’s three runs came on, you guessed it, a two-run home run by right fielder Eddy Martinez in the fifth inning. It was Martinez’s 12th blast of the season. He was 1 for 4.

Catcher Tyler Alamo and first baseman P.J. Higgins were both 2 for 4.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans split a doubleheader with the Frederick Keys (Orioles), winning the continuation of the suspended game 2-1 and losing the regularly-scheduled game 8-4 in ten innings.

Bryan Hudson started this game on Saturday and was terrific, allowing no runs and just one hit over five innings. Hudson struck out five and did not walk anyone.

Manuel Rondon gave up a run in the bottom of the sixth, but after the Pelicans scored twice in the top of the seventh, he struck out the side in order to finish out the win. Rondon’s final line was one run on two hits over two innings. Rondon walked one and struck out three.

After a leadoff walk by Wladimir Galindo in the top of the seventh, Christian Donahue doubled to put runners on second and third with no outs. Both runners would eventually score. Galindo was 0 for 2 with the walk and Donahue was 2 for 3 with the double.

In the second game, Alex Lange struggled with his control as he walked six batters and unleashed two wild pitches in 4.2 innings. Lange allowed just two runs on two hits, however. Lange struck out two.

Yapson Gomez had a rough day in relief, giving up a walkoff grand slam in the bottom of the tenth. Gomez also allowed a run in the ninth and let an inherited runner score. The final line on Gomez was five runs, four earned, on four hits over 1+ innings. Gomez struck out one, walked one batter intentionally and hit one batter.

First baseman Jared Young hit a solo home run in the sixth inning. It was his 16th of the season and sixth with the Pelicans. Young was 2 for 5.

Left fielder Zach Davis went 2 for 3 with a walk and two stolen bases. Davis scored once and had one run batted in.

South Bend Cubs

The South Bend Cubs lost to the Great Lakes Loons (Dodgers), 5-3.

Starter Erling Moreno limited the loons to just one run on four hits over five innings. Moreno walked two and struck out five. He hit one batter.

Manuel Rodriguez left the bases loaded with one out in the seventh and Luis Aquino let all three runners score on a double and a single. Rodriguez took the loss. His final line was three runs on two hits over 1.1 innings. Rodriguez walked three and struck out one.

Left fielder Chris Singleton had a pair of doubles in a 2 for 4 game. He had one run batted in.

Second baseman Clayton Daniel went 2 for 4 with a double. He had one RBI.

Right fielder Brandon Hughes went 2 for 4 and scored once.

AZL Cubs

In case you missed it, the AZL Cubs 1 season ended yesterday with a loss in the decisive game 3 of the championship series to the AZL Dodgers.