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Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: September 5

A big comeback by the I-Cubs falls a run short. South Bend and Myrtle Beach win. The Smokies are struggling.

Brian Kalmer
Annie Rice/Avalanche-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Pelicans first baseman Brian Kalmer was named Carolina League Player of the Month for August. Kalmer hit .349/.414/.651 with seven home runs and 29 RBI.

RIght-hander Blake Whitney was demoted from Iowa to Tennessee.

Folks, I think we need to start worrying about the Smokies. They had a playoff spot all wrapped up a week ago, but now things are looking dicier. They may still back in to a spot, however.

Iowa Cubs

A massive ninth-inning comeback fell one run short as the Iowa Cubs were thunderstruck by the Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals), 10-9.

Starter Samuel Reyes took the loss after he got tagged for five runs on five hits in just three innings. All five runs scored in the third inning and two of them came on back-to-back home runs to lead off the inning. Reyes walked two and struck out one.

Left fielder Jared Young homered in each of his first two at-bats—a solo home run in the first inning and a solo home run in the third. Young now has 17 home runs this year. He was 2 for 5.

The I-Cubs were trailing this game 10-2 in the bottom of the ninth when they staged a massive seven-run inning that fell one run short. Center fielder Pete Crow-Armstrong hit a grand slam to make it 10-6. It was Crow-Armstrong’s 19th home run this year and fifth with Iowa. He was 1 for 4 with a walk.

Later in the ninth, DH David Bote hit a two-run home run to make it 10-8. Bote was also 1 for 4 with a walk tonight. Bote now has 13 home runs this season.

But the big bat tonight was catcher PJ Higgins, who went 5 for 5 with four doubles. Those four doubles tie Jake Fox (2008) and Bryan LaHair (2011) for most doubles in one game. Higgins scored on Bote’s home run in the ninth.

Young’s two home runs:

Some defensive wizardry by Levi Jordan.

PCA’s grand slam.

Bote’s two-run home run.

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies lost to the Mississippi Braves, 8-2. It was the Smokies’ seventh-straight loss.

Manuel Espinoza started and took the loss. Espinoza gave up three runs on three hits over 2.2 innings. Espinoza walked two and struck out one.

Third baseman Matt Shaw hit his first Double-A home run in the third inning with the bases empty. Shaw was 2 for 4 with a double and the home run. He scored both Smokies runs. Shaw now has six home runs this year.

The good news here is that despite the loss, Rocket City also lost. So that reduces the Smokies magic number to clinch a playoff spot to six with eleven games to play.

Shaw’s home run.

South Bend Cubs

The South Bend Cubs apprehended the Quad Cities River Bandits (Royals), 12-6.

Tyler Santana pitched the first four innings and allowed two runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out two.

The win went to Johzan Oquendo in relief of Santana. Oquendo tossed two scoreless innings and gave up just one hit. He struck out two and walked no one.

This game was almost the reverse of the Iowa game as Max Bain gave up four runs in the top of the ninth.

Third baseman Luis Verdugo hit a two-run home run in the second inning, his sixth on the season. Verdugo went 3 for 5 with a double and the home run. He scored two runs.

Left fielder Christian Franklin cranked a two-run home run in the third inning, his 12th on the year and ninth with South Bend. Franklin was perfect 3 for 3 with a double, the home run and a walk. He even stole a base. Franklin scored three times and drove home four.

Center fielder Kevin Alcántara was 3 for 4 with two doubles and a walk. He scored twice and had one RBI.

Shortstop Ed Howard was 2 for 3 with a walk and a sacrifice fly. He had two total runs batted in.

Verdugo’s home run.

Franklin’s home run.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans extinguished the Columbia Fireflies (Royals), 5-2.

Erian Rodriguez started and allowed one run on four hits over three innings. Rodriguez walked two and struck out two.

Angel Hernandez followed Rodriguez with three scoreless innings, giving up just one hit. Hernandez struck out five and walked one.

Landon Ginn pitched the next two innings and got the win. Ginn surrendered one run on two hits over two innings. Ginn walked one and struck out one.

Jose Romero threw the ninth and got the save. He walked the first batter he faced, but then retired the next three. Romero struck out one.

DH Brian Kalmer celebrated his Player of the Month Award by hitting a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh. It was Kalmer’s eighth home run. He was 1 for 4.

Shortstop Jefferson Rojas was 2 for 4 with a walk and a steal. He scored twice.

The Pelicans had two outfield assists at the plate tonight—one by right fielder Rafael Morel and one by left fielder Leonel Espinoza.