Pinto, Weber Highlight Friday Farm Victories

Renyel Pinto won his third straight and Matt Weber flirted with a perfect game in minor league play on Friday as the Diamond Jaxx and Hawks were both victorious.

AAA-Iowa Cubs

OMAHA, Neb. – Rain put a 4-0 Iowa lead on hold Friday, postponing play until August 26 when the Cubs and Omaha Royals will meet for a six-game series at Rosenblatt Stadium with game one of the twinbill set for 4:05 CT. Friday's scheduled starter, left-hander Jimmy Anderson, was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Andrew Shipman, a 22-year-old right-hander with the Sox Class-A affiliate in Sarasota, Fla. and a player to be named. Shipman's 13 saves with the Red Sox placed him just one ahead of Daytona Cubs closer Thomas Atlee in Florida State League play.

AA-West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx

JACKSON, Tenn. – Renyel Pinto tossed six shutout innings and Matt Craig homered and drove in four runs Friday as the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx won their third straight by a final of 13-6 over the struggling first-year Montgomery Biscuits. Pinto (8-4) struck out seven en route to his third straight winning decision. The left-hander also walked six, but managed to work his way out of several jams, including once with the bases loaded in the second inning.

The Jaxx got off to a 12-0 lead behind Pinto, as Craig and third baseman Josh Arteaga homered. Mike Mallory added a pair of RBIs, and Geovany Soto chipped in with a two-run double. The Jaxx bullpen looked shaky as lefty Jordan Gerk gave up four runs in one inning of work, and right-handers Nathan Mitchell and Evan Fahrner each surrendered a solo homerun in an inning apiece.

NOTES: Pinto has posted a 1.00 ERA over the course of his three-game winning streak. In that span, he has struck out 22 in six innings a start for a K/9 ratio of eleven. The Jaxx host Montgomery in the series finale Saturday night at 7:05 CT.

Class-A Daytona Cubs

JUPITER, Fla. – Jon Connolly lost for the first time since May 19, allowing five earned runs on ten hits in five innings of work as the Jupiter Hammerheads beat the Daytona Cubs, 6-3. Connolly (5-1) had won four straight decisions until Friday night's loss. He was hit hard in the first inning as the top of the Jupiter order jumped on three different pitches and drove them all into the outfield as line drive shots. All three resulted in outs, however.

In the second inning, Connolly would not be as fortunate. A Jemel Spearman error would lead to a two-run homer by third baseman Lee Mitchell to give the Hammerheads an early 2-0 lead. In the sixth, Mitchell stepped up again and singled through the right side of the infield scoring right fielder Jeremy Hermida to extend the lead to 3-0. Later that inning, a two-run single from Jupiter shortstop Rex Rundgren made it 5-0.

Right-hander James Russ started and tossed five shutout innings, allowing just two hits. Russ (4-1) had a no-hit bid going into the fourth inning before Adam Greenberg singled to lead off the inning. The Cubs threatened in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases with one out for catcher Casey McGehee. Ruddy Lugo then came in and got McGehee to ground into a 6-4-3 double play for the victory.

NOTES: Right fielder J.J. Johnson recorded three of the Cubs' seven hits Friday. The 22-year-old from Augusta, Georgia has hit safely in 15 of his last 18 games. Since being sent down from AA-West Tenn, Spearman has committed five errors in ten games (all starts). The Cubs have lost back-to-back games only four times since May 22. They head back to Melbourne, Fla. for a 6:05 CT start Saturday night against Brevard County. The two teams then head back to Daytona on the Fourth for a quick meeting. Center fielder Felix Pie has reached base safely in 15 of his last 17 games. Pie added two hits on Friday night.

Class Mid-A Lansing Lugnuts

PEORIA, Ill. – A pair of two-run homeruns, one by Brandon Marcelli and the other from Cody Haerther, led the Peoria Chiefs to a 6-4 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts, who dropped their third straight Friday night. Carlos Marmol (8-3) gave up all six runs in five innings of work for only his third loss of the year, and Jason Burch notched his 16th save by striking out the side in the Lansing ninth.

Marmol got in trouble early, allowing a two-run double in the first inning to Peoria DH Daric Barton. From that point on, once the Lugnuts would crawl back into the thick of things, Marcelli, Haerther and company would answer. After Jake Fox singled to score Robinson Chirinos and Tony McQuade tripled to tie the game in the fourth, Marcelli's first homer of the year quickly put the Chiefs back on top at 4-2. Then in the fifth, Chirinos ripped a long two-run single down the left field line to tie the game back up at 4-4. Hearther's two-run blast in the bottom of the inning quickly gave the Chiefs the lead again, this time for good.

Peoria starter Stuart Pomeranz shook off a couple of shaky innings to pick up his third win. Pomeranz (3-1) managed to go seven innings, allowing all four Lansing runs on six hits without walking a batter. He struck out three.

NOTES: Peoria's Burch trails Lansing's Adalberto Mendez in saves by only one, 17-16. Kane County's Jairo Garcia ranks first among the Midwest League closers in ERA with a 0.30 mark in 25 appearances. His 16 saves are tied with Burch for second in the league. Brian Dopirak drove a 3-1 pitch into the opposite field in right off right-hander Justin Brown in the eighth inning and has now hit safely in 31 of his last 32 games. The Lugnuts meet the Chiefs in the wrap-up of a brief two-game set Saturday night beginning at 6:30 CT.

Class Low-A Boise Hawks

SPOKANE, Wash. – Hawks starter Matt Weber carried a perfect game into the bottom of the sixth inning before Jim Fasano singled and Brandon Boggs doubled to erase whatever hopes the right-hander had for perfection Friday night. Still, the 16th round pick in last year's draft went six strong innings, allowing just a run on two hits for his first victory of the year. Weber (1-0) struck out seven as the Hawks topped the Spokane Indians, 7-4.

Luis Montanez hit a two-run double and Tony Richie drew a bases-loaded walk as part of a five-run Boise seventh off Indians reliever Willy Espinal that ensured a Hawks victory. Indians starter Mark Roberts pitched well, holding the Hawks to just a run on five hits in five innings before giving way to the shaky Spokane bullpen. The Indians still managed to make things interesting in the ninth when right-hander Kris Gross had trouble putting the final nail in the Spokane coffin. Gross gave up three runs on three hits and a walk before retiring Tobin Swope on a pop-up.

NOTES: Weber, a 19-year-old Illinois native of Rockford, Ill., has to this point been the most impressive of the Hawk starters. Weber has worked an average of almost six innings per start this year and has executed picture-perfect command with 15 strikeouts to just one walk. The Hawks' rotation has issued 19 walks while striking out 50 in their first 15 games of the season. The team is 8-7 and in a three-way tie with Spokane and the Tri-City Dust Devils for first place in the Northwest League's Eastern Division. They meat the Indians again Saturday at 8:30 CT.

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