Smith, Leverton Shine in Daytona Win

DAYTONA BEACH — Class A Daytona won game two of their three-game series against the Lakeland Tigers, 6-3, Saturday at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. Daytona (7-8) had the help of third baseman Marquez Smith, who hit a two-run home run -- his fifth of the season -- and Robinson Chirinos, who hit a three-run triple -- both hits coming with two outs.

"We've been really trying to work Smith in the lineup. He's doing really well at the plate," said Cubs manager Buddy Bailey.

Smith, an Ocala native, said he's seeing the ball well at the plate.

"People just go through spells and I just happen to be going through one. I'm squaring up well and having good at-bats," said Smith.

Smith, an eighth-round Cubs draft pick from Clemson in 2007, batted .295 in 84 games at Class A Peoria a season ago and earned a second-half promotion to Daytona. He batted .237 and finished with 17 home runs in 122 games combined.

This season, he leads the Florida State League with five homers and 18 RBI through 12 games and is batting .293.

Smith said he felt pressured to perform well in front of family members at Daytona last season following the promotion.

"The pressure is off from last year and I'm finally starting to feel more relaxed at the plate," Smith said.

On the mound, James Leverton (1-1) got his first win, pitching six innings and giving up just two hits and one earned run to improve on a rough start to the season.

"He started off the season very timid, (but Saturday) he was really aggressive in the zone," said Bailey. "He cut down on walks and went deep into the game.

"It's nice when pitchers can do that. I probably would have left him in, but we didn't want to risk anything."

Left fielder Russ Canzler also provided some sparks, extending his hitting streak to 14 straight games to open the season by going 1-for-2 with a double and a walk.

Tyler Colvin racked up his fifth RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly to right field and also stole two bases.

David Cales picked up his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning.


At Nashville, 1B Jake Fox hit his Pacific Coast League leading ninth home run in a losing effort Saturday. Fox finished 2-for-3 with a double and a walk to pace the Cubs' (11-6) offense and raise his average to .438 through 16 games. 3B Bobby Scales (1-for-4) singled and has hit safely in nine of his last 10 contests. RHP Jose Ascanio started and tossed four scoreless innings in a no-decision, scattering two hits and striking out four batters while allowing two walks. Ascanio has allowed one earned run and 10 hits through his first 16 1/3 innings to open the season for a 0.54 ERA. He helped his cause at the plate by going 1-for-2 with a double. RHP Jason Waddell (0-1) suffered the loss in relief, allowing three runs and three hits in 1 2/3 innings.


At Sevierville, three Smokies (8-7) pitchers combined on a six-hitter Saturday. LHP Casey Lambert (1-1) started and picked up his first win by tossing six shutout innings and allowing two hits. He struck out two batters and did not allow a walk. LHP Jeremy Papelbon (two scoreless innings) and RHP Blake Parker (one scoreless inning) closed things out in relief. 2B Tony Thomas, CF Matt Camp and 3B Jonathan Mota each finished 2-for-4 as the Smokies collected 12 hits total in the victory.


At Peoria, 3B Josh Vitters (1-for-4) hit his first home run of the season Saturday. OF Kyler Burke (2-for-3, two RBI) and DH Josh Harrison (2-for-4) both finished with two hits apiece as Peoria collected eight hits total. RHP Marcus Hatley (1-0) started and picked up his first win. He allowed four runs and eight hits over five innings, striking out two and walking one.


Four Cubs pitching prospects were promoted Saturday. LHP Jayson Ruhlman was promoted to Iowa. Ruhlman, 24, appeared in six games for Tennessee and was 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA (1 ER/6.1 IP) and six strikeouts. RHP Marcos Mateo, 25, was promoted to Tennessee. He made three starts for Daytona, tossing nine scoreless innings and allowing four hits and two walks to go with seven strikeouts. RHP Jose Pina, 23, was promoted to Daytona. He pitched in four games for Peoria and had a 22.50 ERA (5 ER/2 IP), and six walks and no strikeouts. RHP Justin Bristow, 22, was promoted to Peoria from extended spring training.

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