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Game Notes: Memphis Redbirds (58-66) vs Iowa Cubs (66-58)

August 18, 2019 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Memphis Redbirds News Release

Memphis Redbirds (58-66) vs Iowa Cubs (66-58)

Sunday, August 18 - 2:05 p.m. (CT) - AutoZone Park (10,000) - Memphis, Tennessee

Game #125 - Home Game #63 (26-36)

LHP Austin Warner (2-2, 6.70) vs RHP Adbert Alzolay (2-3, 4.61)

BY THE NUMBERS

160 Number of home runs hit by the Redbirds this season. This is just the fourth time in franchise history that a team has reached this mark in a season, thanks to Adolis Garcia's walk-off blast last night. The franchise record for most home runs in a season is 174, set by the 2004 team.

12.2 Consecutive scoreless innings tossed by Kodi Whitley over his last eight games. He has allowed just two earned run in his first 15.1 innings pitched (1.17 ERA) to begin his Triple-A career.

THE GAME

TODAY'S GAME: The Memphis Redbirds continue their 11-game homestand in the fourth and final game against the Iowa Cubs. The Redbirds won last night's contest in walk-off fashion, 8-6, for their seventh win in their last eight games. Adolis Garcia launched his second game-winning home run of the season with a towering shot to left-center to clinch at least a series win. Garcia leads the Redbirds with 26 home runs and 83 RBI on the season. Edmundo Sosa had his team-leading 30th multi-hit game last night by hitting collecting three hits. Sosa has hit safely in 20 of his last 21 games. Ten different Redbirds had a hit in last night's contest and six had multi-hit performances. Tonight's game will be broadcast live on www.memphisredbirds.com with Steve Selby on the call.

ON THE HILL: Left-hander Austin Warner is scheduled to take the mound in today's game and make his ninth start for Memphis and his 23rd overall start this season across all levels. In eight starts with the Redbirds, Warner has gone 2-2, 6.70 (32 ER/43.0 IP) to go along with 43 strikeouts and 21 walks. In his last time out on Monday at Fresno, he earned the win (5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R/ER, 1 BB, 8 SO, 1 HR) in the Redbirds' 6-4 victory over the Grizzlies. It was his first win since July 18 and his third in seven decisions overall at the Triple-A level in his career. Warner has allowed at least six hits in each of his starts and has yielded an opponent's average of .320 (56x175). He has now allowed three earned runs in back-to-back starts after allowing four-or-more in three-straight. In 43.0 innings of work at Memphis, Warner has allowed 13 home runs compared to allowing just 10 long balls in 82.1 innings at the Double-A level. He has allowed at least one long ball in seven of his eight starts. Warner last faced Iowa on July 5 at Principal Park. He took no-decision (4.2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO, 4 HR) in the Redbirds' 9-8 defeat to the Cubs. Warner began the season going 4-6, 3.83 (35 ER/82.1 IP) in 15 games, 14 starts with Double-A Springfield this season. In his 14 starts, eight of them were quality starts and he has made four-straight such outings at that level. Warner was named Texas League Pitcher of the Week for the week of June 10-16, where he went 2-0, 2.21 in two starts, struck-out 16 batters during that span. His performances this season led him to be named a TL Mid-Season All-Star, where he pitched a scoreless inning, fanning one in his appearance on June 25. Warner left the TL ranking 2nd with 88 strikeouts in 82.1 innings. He also ranked 8th with a 3.83 ERA. He made his 2019 Memphis debut on June 30 vs. New Orleans, where he took no-decision (6.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R/ER, 3 BB, 3 SO, 3 HR) in the Redbirds' 10-6 victory over the Baby Cakes. The Louisville, Ky., native is in his third professional season and has spent them all within the St. Louis organization. He entered the season ranked as the No. 30 prospect in the St. Louis organization by Baseball America and is currently ranked as the No. 26 prospect in the system by MLB.com.

The Cubs are scheduled to start right-hander Adbert Alzolay in today's series finale. The 24-year-old is slated to make 13th start for Iowa and his 16th appearance overall across all levels this season. With the I-Cubs, Alzolay has gone 2-3, 4.61 (27 ER/52.2 IP) in 12 starts at the Triple-A level. In his last time out on Tuesday vs. Salt Lake, he took no-decision (4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 0 BB, 7 SO, 1 HR) in the Cubs' 5-2 victory over the Bees. Alzolay has not factored in a decision in his last four starts at Iowa and he is in search of his first win at the Triple-A level since June 14. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in three-straight starts, but has not worked past the 4.0 inning mark during that span. He last faced the Redbirds on July 6, which was his first start with the I-Cubs following his first-career stint at the Major League level. He suffered the loss (3.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R/ER, 3 BB, 6 SO, 1 HBP) in the Cubs' 5-4 defeat to the Redbirds. Alzolay made his MLB debut on June 20 vs. New York-NL, where he earned the win in relief (4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1 HR) for his first career MLB victory. His first start came on June 25 vs. Atlanta, where he took no-decision (4.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R/ER, 4 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR) in the Cubs' 3-2 defeat to the Braves. During his big-league sting, he went 1-1, 7.15 (9 ER/11.1 IP) in three games, two starts. He went 2-4, 4.76 (21 ER/39.2 IP) in eight starts at Iowa last season before being sidelined due to a lat injury. The Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, native is in his seventh professional season, spending all of them with the Chicago-NL organization. He entered the season ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the organization according to Baseball America. He is currently ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the Cubs system according to MLB.com.

HISTORY WITH IOWA: Memphis has faced off against Iowa every year since 1998 and lead 172-141 in the all-time series. In those 21 seasons, the Redbirds have a winning record against the Cubs in 11 seasons and have a losing record in just one season (2015) since 2013. The Redbirds posted their best record against the Cubs last season, going 14-2 overall, 6-2 at AutoZone Park and a whopping 8-0 on the road at Principal Park in Des Moines, Iowa.

Memphis has winning records in downtown Memphis in 17 seasons and has lost two home games each year to the Cubs since 2016. They have not had a losing record at home to the Cubs since 2012. Overall, they lead the series in the Bluff City with a 102-55 advantage.

At Principal Park, the Redbirds have winning records in each of the last two seasons and in three of the last five overall. They also only have winning records in five of 21 seasons in Des Moines, with this two-year stretch being the most successful in team history. They trail in the series there 70-86.

THE SEASON

ABOUT THE LAST ONE: Adolis Garcia hit a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap off a Memphis Redbirds' series-clinching win over the first-place Iowa Cubs (Cubs) Saturday night at AutoZone Park, 8-6.

The Redbirds (58-66) have won seven of their last eight games and also seven of their last eight series.

In exactly one calendar month, since falling to a season-low 21 games under .500 on July 17, Memphis has won 20-of-27 games.

The Redbirds trailed Iowa 5-0 after a half-inning and 6-2 after the top of the sixth, before scoring six times in its final four at-bats. With the game tied at 6 heading to the bottom of the ninth, Andrew Knizner doubled ahead of Garcia cranking his 26th home run of the season to send the fans home happy.

Garcia now has three walk-off winners for the Redbirds this season, and the victory was Memphis' eighth when trailing in the seventh inning or later.

Edmundo Sosa went 3-for-5 with a double, and Dylan Carlson, Knizner, Garcia, Ramon Urias, and Max Schrock all had two-hit games as part of Memphis' 17-hit barrage.

Sosa has a hit in seven-straight games and 20 of his last 21.

Iowa led 6-3 following the seventh-inning stretch, but the Redbirds tied it up with a three-spot in the home-half. Knizner reached on a misplayed ball in left field, and he came around to score on an Urias single. Garcia singled and scored on a Schrock groundout, and pinch-hitter Justin Williams drove in Urias with a knock of his own.

Chasen Shreve pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the Redbirds, erasing an Iowa single with a double play, and the Redbirds went down in order in the bottom of the eighth. Kodi Whitley surrendered a one-out walk, but he escaped the ninth inning with no damage.

That set up Memphis' fireworks in the bottom of the ninth to wrap up the victory.

KINGS OF THE HILL: After falling to a season-low 21 games under .500 following their 11-8 defeat at Round Rock on July 17, the Redbirds have won 20 of their last 27 games and are now eight games under .500, their lowest mark since May 29. Their turnaround has been backed by stellar pitching, as the Redbirds pitching staff leads the Pacific Coast League in several different categories during that span. They lead the PCL in ERA (4.22), hits (212), runs (114), home runs allowed (29), strikeouts (264), WHIP (1.35) and average (.240), while ranking 2nd in earned runs (112) and saves (9). They have also posted three shutouts during that span, one of just two teams in the PCL to have more than one.

SOSA CONTINUES SURGE: Following his return from a brief three-game stint with the St. Louis Cardinals on July 21, Edmundo Sosa has been dominant at the plate for the Redbirds and has played a large part in their late-season turnaround. In his last 21 games, Sosa has posted a slash of .407/.421/.593/1.014 and has hits in 20 of those contests. His average ranks T-4th in Pacific Coast League over that time frame. He has four doubles, four home runs and 21 RBI during that span, and has multi-hit performances in 10 games. He has also raised his batting average from .252 to .286.

PONCE DE LEON DOMINANT AGAIN: After setting the pace with 4.0 no-hit innings on August 4 in Memphis' 2-0 win over El Paso and a dominant 7.0 two-hit innings on August 9 at Sacramento, Daniel Ponce de Leon dazzled again Thursday night by twirling 7.0 scoreless frames against the Cubs, allowing just two hits and whiffing nine batters. In his last four starts with the Redbirds dating back to June 6 at Tacoma, Ponce de Leon has allowed just five hits in his last 21.0 innings with the Redbirds and has whiffed 30 batters during that span. Through 14 starts with Memphis this season, he has held opponents to a .200 average (53x265), a figure that would lead the Pacific Coast League if he qualified.

ROSTER MOVES: The following roster moves were made prior to Thursday night's game: Kramer Robertson was transferred to Springfield and Dylan Carlson was transferred from Springfield.

During his first career stint at the Triple-A level, Robertson posted a slash of .235/.344/.374/.719 over 66 games. He launched five home runs and drove in 24. He drew 27 walks, which ranked seventh on the Redbirds this season.

Carlson is slated to make his Triple-A debut with his first appearance for the Redbirds. The Cardinals No.2 prospect slashed .281/.364/.518/.882 in 108 games with Double-A Springfield. At time of his promotion to Memphis, he led the Texas League with 21 home runs. Carlson also ranked 1st in TL in SLG (.518), runs (81) and XBH (51), 2nd in OPS (.882), 4th in OBP (.364), 6th in hits (117), T-6th in 2B (24), T-6th in 3B (6), 7th in RBI (59) and T-8th in SB (18).

PONCE DE LEON NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Memphis Redbirds starting pitcher Daniel Ponce de Leon has been named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for August 5-11, the league announced Monday.

Ponce de Leon earned the honor after throwing seven scoreless frames and allowing just two hits on Friday's 15-0 Memphis win over the Sacramento River Cats (Giants) in Sacramento. He struck out a season-high 11 batters, which was also the most strikeouts by a Redbirds pitcher this season, and issued no walks.

In his last three starts with Memphis, Ponce de Leon has allowed just three hits and no runs over 14.0 innings of work, whiffing 21 batters compared to issuing six walks.

In 13 starts for the Redbirds this season, Ponce de Leon is 5-4 with a 3.26 ERA with 66 strikeouts in 66.1 innings. He has held opponents to just a .211 average against. If he qualified, Ponce de Leon would have the lowest ERA and lowest average against among PCL league leaders.

REDBIRDS RAKE ON THE ROAD: Not only did the Memphis Redbirds match a season-high by launching five home runs August 10 at Fresno, but they also broke the franchise record for most home runs hit on the road in a single season. Adolis Garcia's solo blast in the sixth inning was the team's 91st home run hit on the road this season, breaking the record of 90 set by the 2004 Redbirds.

CLIMBING THE LEADERBOARDS: As Adolis Garcia continues his power surge at the plate, he has entered and climbed into the Top-10 in several batting categories on the Redbirds all-time lists. His home run last night was his 51st in his Redbirds career, matching Patrick Wisdom for T-4th in franchise history. His two RBI last night also moved him into T-8th with Pete Kozma at 164. He also ranks T-3rd in triples (12), 7th in strikeouts (274), T-7th in hit by pitches (17) and 6th in extra-base hits (119).


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