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#Cubs snap skid with win over Marlins

Willson Contreras smacked a two-run homer in the first and a tie-breaking RBI single in the seventh to lift the Cubs to a 5-4 victory Friday night over the Marlins in Miami and snap a four-game losing streak. The three RBIs were a career high for Contreras, whose young career is just seven games old. Kris Bryant also homered in a four-run first. He now has 50 RBIs.

Kyle Hendricks gave up one hit over five innings — a grand slam — and walked four. He did not get a decision.

Ben Zobrist had to leave the game with a bruised left ankle after he was hit by a pitch in the seventh. He was not expected to play Saturday.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Miguel Montero will start Saturday. He’s been bothered by a sore right knee. Anthony Rizzo also  could return to the lineup. He’s been sidelined for two straight games because of a tightness in his lower back.


#Cubs Minor League report

Thursday’s games

Iowa split a doubleheader against Nashville, winning the first game, 3-0, and losing the second, 7-4. Munenori Kawasaki had two hits in the first game. In the second game, Matt Murton had two hits and scored two runs. Jeimer Canderlario also had two hits.

Jacob Hannemann hit two home runs in Tennessee’s 6-4 loss to Pensacola. Tyler Skulina gave up four runs over 2 1/3 innings. Joe Nathan made his first rehab outing and struck out two in a scoreless fifth. He threw 17 pitches, 11 for strikes.

Jonathan Martinez struck out eight and gave up two runs over 7 1/3 innings in Myrtle Beach’s 2-1 loss to Carolina. Gleyber Torres had two hits, and is batting .346 during a seven-game hitting streak. Charcer Burks also had two hits.

South Bend scored 11 runs on 11 hits in an 11-1 win over Dayton. Eloy Jimenez hit a two-run homer and finished with three RBI. He’s riding a 15-game hitting streak and is batting .433 in that stretch.

Dylan Cease struck out seven and gave up one run over four innings in Eugene’s 11-9 loss to Spokane. Yeiler Peguro had three hits and scored three runs. Andruw Monasterio had three hits and two RBI.

Mesa lost, 12-6, to the D-backs. In his second rehab outing, Aaron Crow gave up one hit in one inning and struck out one. Ruben Reyes finished with two RBI.

#Cubs Minor League report

Wednesday’s games

Jake Buchanan gave up one run over six innings in Iowa’s 3-2 win over Nashville. Jeimer Candelario and David Freitas each had two hits. Buchanan struck out seven.

Tennessee had Wednesday off and resumes play against Pensacola on Thursday.

Myrtle Beach had Wednesday off and resumes play against Carolina on Thursday.

South Bend had Wednesday off and resumes play against Dayton on Thursday.

Pedro Silverio gave up one run over five innings in Eugene’s 8-1 win over Hillsboro. Tyler Payne had three hits and Ian Rose and Jose Paniagua each drove in two runs.

Mesa gave up four runs in the ninth but held on for a 5-4 victory over the D-backs. Rafael Mejia had two hits and Jack Leathersich picked up the win in relief.


The Cubs and Class A South Bend team have extended their Player Development Contract 2 1/2 years before the original contract expires, and the new deal will continue the team’s affiliation with the big league club through the 2020 season.


#Cubs Minor League report

Tuesday’s games

Eloy Jimenez went 1-for-5 with a home run and four RBI in the Midwest League All-Star Game. He hit a game-tying three-run homer in the ninth, and was named MVP of the game. Donnie Dewees went 2-for-4 with one RBI and scored three runs.

Iowa’s game vs. Nashville was postponed because of rain. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Thursday.

Eugene totaled three hits in a 4-1 loss to Hillsboro. Jesus Castillo gave up two runs over five innings.

Mesa had Tuesday off and returns to action Wednesday against the D-Backs.

Ride Across America

Quick personal note: My brother-in-law is part of a four-person team competing in RAAM (Ride Across America) this week. They started in Oceanside, CA, on Saturday, and the finish line is in Anapolis, MD.

As of this morning, they’ve covered more than 1700 miles and have passed the halfway point. at 9:30 a.m. CT, they were approaching the check point at Yates Center, MO. He’s a Cubs fan — as are most of the people on his team — so if you see some bike riders passing through, please cheer them on. Their checkpoints are Jefferson City, MO, then Washington, MO, then West Alton, MO, and en route to Greenville, IL, and then Effingham, IL, today. Go Team 408!


#Cubs and Hammel face Cards

Jason Hammel gets the start on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field for the second game of the Cubs’ three-game series against the Cardinals. Willson Contreras will start at catcher for the second straight game. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT. Here’s the lineup:

Coghlan LF

Heyward RF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist 2B

Contreras C

Russell SS

Almora CF

Hammel P

The Cubs are 13-4 in their last 17 home games, and 25-9 at Wrigley Field this season.

Hammel is coming  off one of his best outings. He held the Nationals to one run on five hits over seven innings in his last start, striking out four. He has not walked a batter in his last two starts and has a 2.26 ERA.


#Cubs Minor League report

Monday’s games

Rob Zastryzny gave up four runs over six innings in Iowa’s 5-4 win over Memphis. John Andreoli had two hits, both doubles, and scored two runs.

It’s All-Star break time for Tennessee, Myrtle Beach and South Bend.

Manuel Rondon gave up one hit over five scoreless innings in Eugene’s 6-0 win over Hillsboro. Andruw Monasterio hit a two-run homer in the third. Tyler Payne and Yeiler Peguero each had two hits.

Kevin Zamudio and Luis Ayala each hit home runs in Mesa’s 5-3 win over the Brewers. Ayala hit a go-ahead three-run inside the park homer while Zamudio hit a two-run homer in the eighth. Yapson Gomez threw three innings for the win.

#Cubs and Lackey face Cardinals

John Lackey will open a three-game series against the Cardinals on Monday night at Wrigley Field. Rookie Willson Contreras gets his first Major League start, one day after hitting a home run on the first pitch he saw in his first ML at-bat. Here’s the lineup:

Zobrist 2B

Heyward RF

Bryant LF

Rizzo 1B

Contreras C

Baez 3B

Russell SS

Almora Jr. CF

Lackey P

This is the Cardinals’ first trip to Wrigley Field this season, the latest they’ve made their initial visit to Chicago since 2008. St. Louis is 18-34 all-time in night games at Wrigley, winning six of the last nine.

Lackey beat the Cardinals in St. Louis on April 18, and did not get a decision in a 4-3 loss on May 23. He’s making his 401st career start and is coming off a no decision vs. the Nationals in which he gave up two runs over six-plus innings.


#Cubs Minor League report

Sunday’s games

Iowa lost, 4-3, to Memphis. Pierce Johnson gave up three earned runs over 3 1/3 innings. Munenori Kawasaki had two hits and one RBI.

Tennessee lost, 4-0, to Memphis. Jen-Ho Tseng gave up one earned run over six innings. He now has a 1.48 ERA in his last five starts.

Ian Happ had three hits, including a two-run homer, in Myrtle Beach’s 4-3, 11-inning loss to Potomac. Jeremy Null gave up three runs over five innings. Jason Vosler and Andrew Ely each had two hits.

South Bend defeated Lake County, 3-1, to clinch a playoff berth and the Eastern Division first-half title. Kyle Miller gave up one run over seven innings. Eloy Jimenez had two hits, both doubles, and two RBI.

Eugene lost, 6-4, in 13 innings to Boise. Jose Paulino threw five shutout innings, striking out five. Wladmir Galindo hit two home runs and Yeiler Peguero had twho hits, including a home run, and two RBI.

The Mesa Cubs begin their season Monday night against the Brewers.

#Cubs benefit concert raises $400,000

Friday night’s Hot Stove Cool Music concert for Theo Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later raised more than $400,000, and featured a surprise performance by Pearl Jam front-man Eddie Vedder. Vedder took the stage at The Metro in Wrigleyville, joining an all-star roster of Chicago and Boston musicians who stepped up to the plate for Chicago-area youth. This was the fifth Chicago FTBNL benefit concert.

Vedder joined Epstein, Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons, Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper and an all-star lineup featuring Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Liz Phair, Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, Latin Grammy nominated jazz musician/former New York Yankee Bernie Williams, JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, and Avid Dancer.


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