Rich Harden goes to the mound today against former Cub whipping boy, Jason Marquis. It should be fun to see the react to Marquis coming back to town. I harbor no ill feelings toward him. He did exactly what he was paid to do. He took the ball and kept you in the ballgame as best you can expect from a back end of the rotation type starter.

AAA – Iowa Cubs defeated Albuquerque 14-7

  • Sam Fuld (.360/.433/.480) – went 3-for-5 with a home run short of the cycle and four RBI out of the leadoff spot.
  • So Taguchi heard my diss yesterday and decided to show up at the plate with a 4-for-6 day and 3 RBI
  • Jake ‘my guy’ Fox (.545/.621/1.136) went 4-for-5 at the plate with two HR’s and five RBI. He needs to be on the active roster. He has value for this team.
  • Mitch Atkins sucked (see the Top Prospect Tracker at the bottom of the post)

High A – Daytona lost to Dunedin 8-6

    Garfield’s Fun Fest movie

  • Tyler Colvin (.235/.381/.294)went 0-for-4 as he continues his quest to rehab from off-season surgery. The lack of power is a bummer so far with the .294 slugging %.

In a game that seemed to be headed for a blowout early, the young, resilient Daytona Cubs (3-2, 3-2) were unable to pull out a win in the first of a three-game series against the Dunedin Blue Jays (2-3, 2-3), falling 8-6. The Blue Jays scored all of their runs with two outs.

Dunedin starter Andrew Liebel (0-1) was dealing early, facing the minimum twelve hitters through four innings, while his offense put up five runs against Cubs starter James Leverton (0-0). The Blue Jays used six hits, including a solo home run by catcher Jon Jaspe, and three stolen bases to build the five-run difference through three innings.

The momentum of the game changed briefly in the bottom of the fifth when the Cubs rallied for five of their own to tie up the ball game. Centerfielder Drew Rundle notched his first hit on a two-RBI double when he came up with the bases loaded and nobody out. Catcher Robinson Chirinos followed suit and used his first hit of 2009 to double in two more runs and bring Daytona within one. Three batters later, Marwin Gonzalez, who later extended his hitting streak to five games in the seventh, would bring home Chirinos with a ground out to second.

But again with two outs in the sixth, Dunedin rallied behind three hits and a walk to plate three more runs and take the lead for good off reliever Craig Muschko (0-1).  Designated hitter Darin Mastroianni led the way with a 2-for-2 night in which he safely reached base in all five at bats, stole two bases and scored two runs.

Any final hopes for another late-game comeback were whisked away as Blue Jay relievers Robert Bell and Daniel Farquhar struck out the final six batters of the game. Left fielder Eric Thames and first baseman Manny Rodriguez both enjoyed three RBI performances.

Low-A – Peoria Chiefs swept a doubleheader against Dayton 5-4 (game 1) and 5-4 (game 2)

  • Tony Campana (.353/.353/.353) -  had five hits on the day and two SB
  • Ryan Flaherty (.467/.556/.733) – got on base five times, including a double and two walks

Falling behind early in both games, the Peoria Chiefs mounted a couple of middle inning comebacks on their way to a pair of 5-4 wins in a doubleheader sweep against the Dayton Dragons. The Chiefs were paced by Nelson Perez’s homer and Ryan Flaherty’s two-run double in game one and some clutch, two-out hitting in game two.

The Chiefs used a big third inning to gain their first lead of the game. Trailing 4-1 with one out, Rebel Ridling walked. Perez, who was tied for the lead in the Arizona Rookie League last season with 10 homers, stepped in and blasted a line-shot to right that pinged off the foul pole to cut the Chiefs deficit to 4-3. The long ball was the Chiefs first of the season. Josh Vitters followed that up with an infield single up the middle, and Kyler Burke lined a single to left. Vitters was eventually thrown out at third trying to advance to on a wild pitch and Junior Lake walked. Flaherty, with one hit already on the day, bounced one just inside the first base line, plating both Burke and Lake to give the Chiefs a 5-4 edge.

Dayton took advantage of a first-inning error to take an early 1-0 lead. Dave Sappelt singled to left. Cody Puckett grounded one towards third but it went underneath the glove of Josh Vitters, allowing Sappelt to travel all the way to third on the play. Jose Gualdron came up and delivered a sacrifice fly to right field, plating Sappelt and putting Dayton on the board.

The Chiefs got that run back quickly in their half of the first. Tony Campana reached on a bunt single to third. After a sacrifice by Josh Harrison, Ridling drove in his sixth run of the young season with a RBI single to right-center to tie the game at one.

The Dragons tacked on three more runs in the second. With one away, Jordan Wideman ripped an opposite field double down the right field line. Miguel Rojas bounced a single up the middle. Campana’s throw to the plate was high as Wideman scored. On the throw, Rojas advanced to second base setting the table for Brandon Menchaca. The right-handed hitting right-fielder lined a single to right, scoring Rojas. With two down in the inning and runners on first and second, Jose Gualdron snuck one through the left side of the infield allowing Menchaca to score to make it a 4-1 Dayton lead.

Jeff Beliveau started game one for the Chiefs on the mound. In his second appearance and first start, the southpaw allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits in three innings of work. Mike Perconte (1-0) came on in relief to pick up the win and needed just 22 pitches two get through three innings without allowing a hit. Erik Hamren picked up his first save of the season, hurling a 1-2-3 seventh inning. Leonardo Astorga started for Dayton. The right-hander, who was draped with the loss, allowed five runs on seven hits in three innings.

The  Dragons again jumped on top of the Chiefs early in game two. Dave Sappelt and Cody Puckett led off the game with consecutive singles and came around to score on a Kyle Day two run triple. Dayton was still threatening with runners at the corners and nobody out after a Humberto Sosa walk, but Chiefs starter Marcus Hatley struck out Gualdron and induced a double play off the bat of Byron Wiley to keep it 2-0.

The Chiefs got on the board in the second as Perez led off with a tailing double to left. After Cliff Andersen was retired, Flaherty drove in his third run of the doubleheader with a single up the middle to make it a 2-1 score.

Trailing 2-1, the Chiefs took their first lead of game two in the fifth inning against Oscar Castro. After one out, David Macias reached second on an error by Dragons first baseman Humberto Sosa. Tony Campana tied the game with a single to left as Macias scored without a throw. Campana stole second and advanced to third on a single by Harrison. With the game tied, Ridling drove home his seventh RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Campana for a 3-2 Chiefs lead.

Peoria added to their lead in the sixth. David Macias and Campana both recorded RBI singles to give the Chiefs some much needed insurance at 5-2. The Dragons rallied in the top of the seventh. With one out and runners on first and second, Ryan Buchter came on to relieve Josh Whitlock. Buchter struggled though and walked three straight hitters on 12 consecutive balls, forcing in two runs. With the bases still loaded and the tying run on third base, Jose Pina came in to try and close it out. The third-year Chief induced a foul pop out by Byron Wiley to the third baseman Macias, and Frank Pfister grounded harmlessly to Flaherty to end the threat and the game.

Hatley, a 6’5 right-hander allowed two runs on five hits over two innings while walking two and striking out one. Kevin Kreier tossed three scoreless innings and allowed one hit with two strikeouts in a winning effort. Whitlock went 1 1/3 innings, Buchter faced three batters and Pina picked up his first save of the season. Oscar Castro was the losing pitcher for the Dragons. Castro allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Hotel Rwanda video Pumping Iron move

To view the entire organizational recap of box scores, be sure to visit the Cubs page on FirstInning.com

Thanks to the Peoria Chiefs and Daytona Cubs media department for providing game recaps.

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail