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Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: April 27

Iowa hit 7 home runs in a wild matinee. Ben Brown continues to impress. The entire system won.

2023 World Baseball Classic Pool C: Game 3 Team Great Britain v. Team Canada
Jared Young
Photo by Daniel Shirey/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Something was in the water in Des Moines today. Or maybe something was in the air and it was blowing out to center field.

Everybody wins, baby.

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs outlasted the Louisville Bats (Reds), 18-16.

Kyle Hendricks started this game on a rehab assignment and the Bats had their bats going against him. Hendricks gave up six runs on six hits and a walk over 1.2 innings. Hendricks struck out three. He threw 54 pitches and 33 of them were strikes.

That line may look bad, but that’s only because it is. However, when you’re looking at rehabbing pitchers, what’s important is not the results but how many pitches he threw and how he felt afterwards. As far as that goes:

So Hendricks felt healthy, and that’s all that matters. All the results mean is that he’s not ready to join the rotation next week, but we already knew that. And Hendricks knows that.

Hendricks’ fastball was also in the 86-to-89 mile per hour range, so that’s a positive sign.

The pitching staff didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory today, but Riley Thompson had two innings of relief without allowing a run or a hit. Thompson walked one and struck out two.

Tyler Duffey got the win. He allowed no runs and one hit over 1.2 innings of relief. Duffey struck out two and walked no one.

Nick Burdi got the save, but not before the go-ahead run came to the plate with two outs. Burdi’s final line was one run on two hits over one inning. He walked one and struck out two, including that final hitter of the game.

Dom Nuñez went 0 for 5. Every other Iowa hitter had at least two hits. Two Iowa batters had two home runs. Three more had just one homer for a total of seven. So this recap is going to get long.

So first baseman Matt Mervis had the first home run of the game, a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning. It was Mervis’ sixth home run this season. He was 2 for 5 with a walk. He scored twice and had two RBI.

In the second inning, DH Jared Young connected on a solo home run. He hit a second solo home run in the fourth inning. Young went 2 for 3 with a sacrifice fly for three total RBI. He was also hit by a pitch. Young now has three home runs this year.

Center fielder Christopher Morel hit a solo home run later in the fourth inning and a second solo shot in the sixth. That gives Morel an incredible ten home runs over the first 21 I-Cubs game. That home run total leads the International League and is tied with Salt Lake’s Jo Adell for the most in all of the minors. Morel was 4 for 6 with a stolen base and four runs scored.

Third baseman Jake Slaughter hit a solo home run in the fourth, his first on the year. Slaughter went 2 for 3 with two walks and a steal. He scored twice and had three RBI.

Shortstop Sergio Alcántara hit the fourth home run of the fourth inning. In fact, Slaughter, Young and Alcántara went back-to-back-to-back in the fourth. Alcántara hit a three-run double in the seventh inning that would end up giving Iowa the lead for good. He went 2 for 5 with the four runs batted in.

Second baseman Miles Mastrobuoni went 3 for 5 with a walk and a stolen base. He scored twice and had one run batted in.

Right fielder Mike Tauchman was 2 for 4 with a double and two walks. He scored twice and had one RBI.

Left fielder Darius Hill had a pair of doubles in a 4 for 5 game. He also walked once. Hill scored three times and drove in two.

So that’s the line for everyone in the Iowa lineup.

Some highlights. First, here’s Kyle Hendricks at his best today.

The Mervis home run. The pitch was just 16 inches off the ground.

The first home run for Jared Young.

Morel’s first home run.

Slaughter’s home run.

Alcántara’s home run.

Morel’s second home run. You know, I don’t think many of these needed the wind’s help.

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies exiled the Birmingham Barons (White Sox), 5-1.

Ben Brown had another dominating start, picking up his second win of the season. Brown allowed just one unearned run on six hits over five innings. He struck out eight and walked no one. Brown has allowed just one earned run (and two runs total) over the first 20 innings of the season. He’s struck out 30 batters and walked just six.

Chris Kachmar pitched three scoreless innings, allowing one hit, walking one and striking out six. Riley Martin pitched a perfect ninth inning in a non-save situation. He struck out one.

Right fielder Bradlee Beesley hit a two-run home run in the third inning. It was Beesley’s second home run since being promoted to Double-A on Tuesday and his third overall. He was 1 for 2 with a walk and he was hit by a pitch.

Catcher Miguel Amaya tacked on two insurance runs with a two-run home run in the eighth inning. It was his fourth home run of 2023. Amaya went 1 for 4.

Left fielder Jordan Nwogu was 2 for 3 with a walk.

Amaya’s home run.

South Bend Cubs

The South Bend Cubs beat the Peoria Chiefs (Cardinals), 3-1.

Brandon Birdsell had another good start, his fourth to start his pro career. Birdsell went a career-high five innings and allowed no runs on just two hits. He only struck out one and he walked no one, but he did hit one batter.

Frankie Scalzo Jr. pitched the other four innings and collected the save. Scalzo got into a bit of trouble in the ninth when he gave up an RBI double after two were out to spoil the shutout. His final line was one run on two hits over four innings. He struck out one and walked one.

Center fielder Kevin Alcántara hit a high-flying home run with a man on in the bottom of the second. It was his third home run. He was 1 for 4.

Left fielder Yohendrick Pinango got a valuable insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. He singled to lead off the inning, went to second when Haydn McGeary walked, went to third on a double steal and scored on a Kevin Made ground out. Pinango went 1 for 3 with a walk.

Here’s Alcántara’s home run.

And here’s Alcántara proving that Pete Crow-Armstrong isn’t the only guy in the Cubs’ system who can play center field.

More detailed highlights.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans brought the Charleston RiverDogs (Rays) to heel, 10-9.

Starter Grant Kipp pitched the first three innings gave up three runs on four hits. Kipp walked one and struck out four.

Marino Santy pitched the sixth inning and retired the side in order, striking out two. But then he came out for the seventh inning and he allowed his first three earned runs of the year. Santy’s line was three runs on two hits over two innings. He walked three, hit one batter and struck out four.

Jack Aldrich gave up two runs in the bottom of the eighth to give the RiverDogs their first lead since the second inning. But the Birds struck back for three runs in the top of the ninth and Aldrich got the win after pitching a scoreless ninth. The line on Aldrich was two runs, both unearned, on three hits. He struck out two and walked no one.

DH Reivaj Garcia hit a two-run single in the top of the ninth to tie the game back up. Garcia went 2 for 4 with a double and two walks. He scored twice.

Center fielder Rafael Morel was 2 for 5. He scored two runs, including the go-ahead run in the ninth on a wild pitch.

Left fielder Felix Stevens was 3 for 5 with a double and four runs batted in. Stevens scored once.