"Piggy" starts at AAA; Murton just now below .350

Monday morning's walk through the Cubs' farm system.

Iowa Notes

Iowa's six-game winning streak was snapped on Sunday in a 9-4 loss to Omaha. LHP Carmen Pignatiello was hit hard in his first career start at Triple-A, allowing a season-high six runs on eight hits in four innings of work for the loss. Pignatiello, 5-4 with a 2.68 ERA in 16 games at Double-A before being promoted, had a 1.88 ERA over his last 12 outings prior to Sunday.

Five pitchers were used in relief, including right-hander Bobby Brownlie. Brownlie threw two innings, allowing one run but no hits. Since being moved to the bullpen, he has surrendered one hit through five innings in three games after going 2-4 with a 6.05 ERA in the starting rotation.

On offense, C Geovany Soto doubled for the third straight game to bring his average to .275 for the year. He is batting .317 since May began. Twenty-five percent of Soto's hits have gone for extra bases this season despite not recording a double or better for the entire first month.

West Tenn Notes

Jae-Kuk Ryu's recent inconsistency continued in an 8-3 Jaxx loss at Mobile on Sunday. Ryu (6-4, 3.87 ERA) allowed five runs in as many innings, striking out seven to go with two walks. He has now allowed 16 earned runs in June, the most for any month this season.

RF Adam Greenberg had another multi-hit night, his third in the past week to bring his average back above .260. Greenberg matched a season-high with three walks and reached base in all five plate appearances.

Meanwhile, LF Matt Murton drove in two runs and hit his 16th double of the season. Only recently did Murton's average drop below .350 for the first time all season. The former Red Sox first round pick is batting .347 for the year, which ties him for first in the Southern League. He has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 starts.

Daytona Notes

Daytona won a good old-fashioned pitcher's duel, 2-1, with Vero Beach on Sunday. Cubs starter J.R. Mathes scattered just one run on six hits over seven innings for his third win in his last four starts. Mathes (6-3) lowered his ERA to 3.22 for the year despite averaging over one hit per inning with 82 in 72 2/3 innings.

C Jake Fox's second home run of the year was the difference maker. Fox finished with two hits on Sunday. He got off to a slow 10-for-44 start to the year, but has batted .310 since May 1 and is hitting .278 for the full year in 37 games. As expected, the University of Michigan alumnus has split playing time this year with fellow 2003 draft pick Tony Richie behind the plate.

CF Chris Walker followed up his season-best four-hit night with three hits on Sunday. Walker is now batting .299 for the year. He has not been over .300 since May 8 at Tampa.

Peoria Notes

Peoria split a doubleheader with Cedar Rapids on Sunday. The Chiefs dropped game one 4-3 despite a six-inning complete game from starter Jesse Estrada, who gave up four runs and nine hits. Estrada (4-7, 4.95 ERA) has not walked a batter in his last two starts, spanning 13 innings. CF Sam Fuld hit the first professional home run of his career to highlight the Chiefs' scoring. Fuld is now batting a season-best .249, including .290 for the month.

In the second game, Peoria won 6-4 behind RF Ryan Harvey, who collected three hits and drove in three runs. After a hitless pinch-hit performance in game one drove his average down below .250, Harvey rebounded nicely in game two with his team-best 10th home run. His three-RBI performance overtook LF Luis Montanez for the team lead in RBIs. (Montanez also homered in game two, his ninth of the year.)

2B Eric Patterson was hitless in game one but picked up two hits in game two. Patterson still leads the Midwest League with a .358 batting average in 55 games this season. He stole two bases on Sunday and is fifth in the league with 19 this season.

RHP Alfredo Polanco started game two and allowed three runs in three innings for a no-decision. RHP Walt Nolen picked up the win, allowing an unearned run and two hits in two innings. Nolen (6-2, 4.99 ERA) has won four straight decisions since May 1. LHP Jerry Blevins recorded his 12th save despite his 1-5 record and 6.09 ERA. Blevins is fourth in the league in saves this season.

Boise Notes

The Hawks won their home opener, beating Eugene 5-4 in their last at-bat. LHP Darin Downs again pitched five solid innings of three-hit shutout ball, but this time in relief. RHP Kyle Holden, the Cubs' 19th round pick from Cal State-San Bernardino in this year's draft, got the start and pitched two innings in his professional debut. Holden faced 10 batters, allowed four hits, and struck out two without issuing a walk. Meanwhile, Downs fanned four and now has 12 strikeouts in his two appearances with the club. The win went to RHP Victor Ramos, who threw a scoreless ninth inning in relief.

C Jake Muyco went 2-for-2 in his professional debut, and RF Jeff Culpepper hit his first home run. Culpepper and 1B Chris Gaskin each drove in two runs. Gaskin now has seven RBIs, good for second in the Northwest League despite his .167 batting average; Culpepper is 4-for-16 in his first five games. CF Davy Gregg has only two hits in 21 at-bats, but leads the league with eight stolen bases in his first five games. Gregg, a Day 2 draft pick from the University of South Carolina earlier this month, has a stolen base in all but one of his five games with the Hawks, including a pair of three-SB nights. Gregg scored three runs on Sunday and has five runs scored in his past two games.

Mesa Notes

The rookies pounded out 12 hits in Arizona League action, as the Cubs beat the Brewers 7-1. LF Ryan Episcopo, the Cubs' 38th round pick earlier this month, paced the offense with four hits, and RF John Defendis finished with three. Defendis, a Day 2 pick from Rutgers this year, has four hits in nine at-bats in his first two games while Episcopo was making his first start of the season. RHP Jose Pina pitched three innings for the second outing in a row en route to the win. Pina (1-0, 1.50 ERA) notched two strikeouts. Veteran right-hander Scott Williamson pitched two innings in relief and fanned three batters, allowing one hit in the second outing of his rehab appearance. Through their first three games of league play, Cub rookies have combined for a 2.67 ERA—good for third overall in the nine-team league.


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