Cubs Minor League News: Canario and Crook homer, Strumpf smacks go-ahead dinger, more
Canario is tearing it up offensively this season (Photo via SB)

Cubs Minor League News: Canario and Crook homer, Strumpf smacks go-ahead dinger, more

by - Senior Writer -

With the Minor league season officially over next Wednesday for the Cubs organization, Iowa and Tennessee are looking to finish their seasons strong. While Tennessee is in the playoffs and Iowa will not be, these are the only two teams left playing as they went on to post a 1-1 record on Thursday.


After having game two of their doubleheader canceled on Wednesday, Omaha and Iowa made up for that by going 13 innings in this one. It was the 28th extra inning game for the Cubs this season, but just the second one that went past 11 innings as this was their longest game of the season.

Given the state of the Cubs pitching and having so many players promoted through the system, Marty Peavy elected to go with a bullpen game on Thursday as Iowa trotted out seven different pitchers. Granted, some had more success than others. All of them threw at least one inning on the mound and helped save their starters for the final six games.

Not only did Omaha grab the early lead in the first off the Dairon Blanco RBI triple, but they added to that lead in the third when Freddy Fermin picked up an RBI single to make things 2-0. That two-run lead was very short-lived as Alexander Canario went deep for his fourth homer in three games to pull the Cubs within 2-1.

Later in that inning, it was Narcisco Crook getting in on the fun as his 19th homer gave Iowa a 3-2 lead, which they would hold onto for most of the game.

That was until the eighth inning when Jimmy Govern picked up a clutch RBI single to tie things up and sent the game to extras.

Neither team could score in the first three innings in the extra frames, as you were getting a sense that no one wanted to win. That was until the Cubs struck first in the 13th, using a Christian Donahue single to take a 4-3 lead. That was also the first AAA hit of Donahue's career, and it couldn't have come at a better time.

With Brendon Little on to work his second inning in the bottom of the 13th, Omaha wasted no time tying things up as Blanco connected for his second RBI single of the night. Later in that inning, Brent Rooker role one past Matt Mervis at first to bring home the winning run and capped off the 5-4 walk-off win.


Holding a two-run lead in the ninth inning and their backs against the wall, Rocket City brought the tying run to the plate looking to crush the souls of Tennessee. Instead, you had Yonathan Perlaza make an incredible catch to end the game, which got the series evened up 1-1. Now the two teams will face off in a winner-take-all-game three as Tennessee is looking for its first title since 1978.

In what was expected to be a great pitching matchup, you had Ben Brown of the Smokies facing off with Chase Silseth of Rocket City. Brown has been the Smokies best pitcher since coming over in the David Robertson deal, but wasn't at his best in this one lasting just 3 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out six, but left with the Smokies trailing on the scoreboard.

That was because Silseth was brilliant and continues to show why he was an MLB call-up earlier this season. Silseth allowed two runs in 5 1/3, but was only charged with one earned run. Tennessee benefitted from an early lead, with Perlaza putting the Smokies in front 1-0 with his third-inning RBI double.

The lead didn't last long, with Zach Neto tying things up with a homer in the bottom half of the third, while the Ryan Aguilar single in the fourth gave the Trash Pandas a 2-1 lead. Considering how good the Rocket City pitching staff has been this season, scoring runs on them late is not easy, and that is what the Smokies were up against.

Fortunately for them, all it took was one swing of the bat to alter the direction of this one as Chase Strumpf connected for the three-run shot in the sixth that put the Smokies up 4-2. That score would hold until the bottom of the ninth when all the drama started happening.

With Zac Leigh on to close things out, things got off to a great start as he struck out the first two in the ninth. Then with Jeremiah Jackson at the plate, Zach Davis misjudged the ball in center field as the tying run was now standing on second. He would be left stranded there as Perlaza made an incredible game-saving catch against Bryce Teodosio, and the Smokies forced a decisive game three on Friday with the 4-2 win.

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