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Game Notes: Memphis Redbirds (68-68) at Iowa Cubs (72-64)

August 30, 2019 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Memphis Redbirds News Release

Memphis Redbirds (68-68) at Iowa Cubs (72-64)

Friday, August 30 - 7:08 p.m. (CT) - Principal Park (11,000) - Des Moines, Iowa

Game #137 - Road Game #67 (35-31)

LHP Genesis Cabrera (5-6, 5.91) vs RHP Alec Mills (6-4, 5.11)

BY THE NUMBERS

53 Number of home runs hit by the Redbirds through 27 games in August. Not only did they launch a season-high six home runs last night, but they also became the first team in franchise history to slug at least 50 home runs in a single month.

93 Number of runs scored by Adolis Garcia this season. That is the most runs scored by any Redbirds player in a single season in franchise history. His go-ahead run last night broke a tie with Scott Seabol for sole-possession of first place.

THE GAME

TONIGHT'S GAME: The Memphis Redbirds continue their eight-game road trip to end the season in with the first of four games against the Iowa Cubs. The Redbirds enter his series four games back from the Cubs for the division lead and a series sweep by the 'Birds would earn them their third-straight division title. The Redbirds kept their playoff chances alive last night by slugging a season-high six home runs in an 8-5 comeback victory over the Baby Cakes, in what was the final game at The Shrine on Airline. The Redbirds rallied from a 5-1 deficit to tie the game in the sixth and later take the lead in the ninth. Kodi Whitley, Junior Fernandez and Mike Mayers tossed 4.0 scoreless frames in relief, as they combined to fan seven batters with no walks issued. Mayers earned his sixth save of the year and the bullpen overall has converted all nine save opportunities this month. Tonight's game will be broadcast live on www.memphisredbirds.com with Steve Selby on the call.

ON THE HILL: Left-hander Genesis Cabrera is scheduled to take the mound in tonight's series opener and make his 21st appearance and 19th start with Memphis and his 26th appearance overall across levels in 2019. Cabrera last took the mound on Saturday vs. Omaha, earning the win (7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 12 SO) in the Redbirds' 4-0 shutout victory over the Storm Chasers. Cabrera matched a career-high by recording 12 strikeouts and he also matched a Pacific Coast League record by fanning nine-straight batter, joining former Redbird Alex Reyes who had completed the feat last season. It was also his second-straight quality start and his third such start in his last five. It was also the first time all season at the Triple-A level that Cabrera did not allow a single run in an outing. He also allowed a season-low one hit, lowering his opponent's average by 14 points from .290 to .276. Cabrera also snapped a run of eight-straight starts with allowing a home run and it was his first start without allowing a longball since June 27. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in nine of his last 13 starts with the Redbirds. Cabrera will be making his third start against Iowa this season and his second at Principal Park. He last faced the Cubs on July 7 at this facility, where he suffered the loss (3.0 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR) during the Redbirds' 8-5 defeat. During his second Major League stint of the season from June 13-23, he made three relief appearances, allowing two runs on two hits in 3.1 total innings. In his return to Memphis on June 9 at Reno, Cabrera earned the win (5.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R/ER, 3 BB, 8 SO) in the Redbirds' 7-4 victory over the Aces. It was his third consecutive start of allowing two earned runs or fewer. During his first career Major League stint from May 29 - June 4, Cabrera went 0-2, 6.48 (6 ER/8.1 IP) in two starts. He made his MLB debut on May 29 at Philadelphia, suffering the loss (3.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1 HR)in the Cardinals' 11-4 defeat to the Phillies. The Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, native is in his sixth professional season and second with the St. Louis organization. Cabrera entered this season ranked as the No. 6 prospect in the Cardinals system by Baseball America. He spent the bulk of last season at Double-A Montgomery, going 7-6, 4.12 (52 ER/113.2 IP). He was named a Southern League All-Star and ranked 3rd in the league with a .218 batting average.

The Cubs are scheduled to start right-hander Alec Mills in tonight's series opener. The 27-year-old is slated to make his 19th start and 20th appearance for the I-Cubs this season and his 24th appearance overall across all levels this season. Mills has gone 6-4, 5.11 (59 ER/104.0 IP) to go along with 96 strikeouts and 30 walks with the I-Cubs this season. In his last time out on Sunday vs. Nashville, he suffered the loss (6.0 IP, 9 H, 7 R/ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR) in the Cubs' 7-5 defeat to the Sounds. Mills has lost two of his last four decisions and he has not earned a win since July 7, against the Redbirds. His seven earned runs allowed set a season high and he has allowed at least eight hits in three of his last four starts at the Triple-A level. In his last two starts since returning to the I-Cubs after his second Major League stint of the season, Mills has gone 0-1, 6.55 (8 ER/11.0 IP) with nine strikeouts and four walks. The I-Cubs are 1-1 in those contests. Mills has faced the Redbirds twice this season and has gone a combined 1-1, 7.06 (8 ER/10.2 IP). He last faced the 'Birds on July 7 at this facility, earning the win (7.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR) in the Cubs' 8-5 victory. The Clarksville, Tenn., native is in his eighth professional season and his third with the Chicago organization. He spent his first five professional seasons with the Kansas City organization.

HISTORY WITH IOWA: Memphis has faced off against Iowa every year since 1998 and lead 173-141 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 103-55 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: The Memphis Redbirds erased a 5-1 deficit after four innings and earned a series victory with an 8-5 win at the New Orleans Baby Cakes (Marlins) Thursday night in New Orleans, La.

The Redbirds have won 17 of their last 20 games and 10 of their last 11 series overall. Coupled with a loss by the Iowa Cubs, the Redbirds are 4.0 games behind the first-place Cubs with four games at Iowa to wrap up the regular season starting tomorrow night. A four-game sweep would give the Redbirds a third-straight division title.

The Redbirds are now 68-68 on the season and are back at .500 for the first time since being 23-23 after a win against Nashville on May 23, which was 98 days ago.

Memphis mashed a season-high six home runs in the game, which is the club's fifth five-plus home run game this month alone. The Redbirds have six games of five or more long balls this season, and from 2011-18 Memphis had five such games.

The game started with a first-pitch Randy Arozarena home run, which was Memphis' only scoring until the fifth when Max Schrock hit his second homer of the season. The Redbirds then hit two home runs in both the sixth and ninth innings to tie the game and plate the eventual winning runs.

Dylan Carlson trimmed the New Orleans (70-64) lead to 5-3 with a home run in the sixth, and Justin Williams tied the ballgame with a two-run shot a couple of batters later.

After the offense knotted the game at 5, the Redbirds bullpen took over and dominated to finish the contest. Kodi Whitley tossed scoreless sixth and seventh innings with four strikeouts, and he kept the game tied at 5 heading into the eighth.

Junior Fernandez came on in the bottom of the eighth and allowed a leadoff double, and New Orleans had runners on first and third with one out, but Fernandez induced a double play to get out of the inning.

The game remained tied at 5 heading into the ninth inning, when Ramon Urias proceeded to launch a two-run home run before Edmundo Sosa added some extra breathing room with his 17th round-tripper of the season.

Now leading 8-5, the Redbirds turned to Mike Mayers in the bottom of the ninth, who allowed back-to-back singles to start the inning and bring the tying run to the plate before wiping out the Baby Cakes by striking out the side to earn his sixth save of the year.

For the second-straight night each Redbird starting position player had at least one hit in the game. Arozarena has now reached base in 45-straight starts.

Austin Warner started the game on the mound and battled through 5.0 innings, allowing five runs, four earned, on seven hits.

FOUR BACK, FOUR TO GO: The Redbirds entered today just four games back of the division leading Iowa Cubs as they head to Des Moines for the final four games of the regular season. On July 17, the Redbirds fell to 17 games back in the division following their defeat at Round Rock. Since then, the Redbirds have gone 30-9 and have a record at .500 for the first time since May 21. To make the playoffs and earn a chance to win their third-straight Pacific Coast League championship, the Redbirds must will all four games against the I-Cubs. In August alone, the Redbirds have won four consecutive games four times.

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 30 of their last 39 games and have a record at .500 for the first time since May 23. The 30 wins are the most by any team in the Pacific Coast League and they only team with more than 25 wins during that span. Their turnaround has been backed by stellar pitching, as the Redbirds pitching staff leads the PCL in several different categories. They lead the league in ERA (3.74), hits (298), runs (148), earned runs (142), WHIP (1.33), and average (.234) and in home runs allowed (39), while ranking 3rd in saves (13) and in 4th strikeouts (363). They have also posted four shutouts during that span, one of just two teams in the PCL to have more than three.

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 32 games, Sosa has posted a slash of .385/.408/.578/.986 and has hits in 28 of those contests. His average is the second-highest in Pacific Coast League over that time frame. He has five doubles, seven home runs and 28 RBI during that span, and has multi-hit performances in 15 games. He has also raised his batting average from .252 to .293.

NINE UP, NINE DOWN: In Saturday night's game against Omaha, Genesis Cabrera became just the second pitcher in Pacific Coast League history to strikeout nine-straight batters in a game. From the last two outs of the third inning to the first out in the sixth, Cabrera punched-out nine in a row, six swinging and three looking to equal Alex Reyes' record, set last year on May 23 vs. Oklahoma City. The two Redbird pitchers are the only players in PCL history to have fanned nine consecutive batters.

REDBIRDS SLUG WAY INTO RECORD BOOKS: Adolis Garcia's home run in the second inning of on August 23 against the Storm Chasers was the Redbirds 174th long ball of the season, matching the franchise record set by the 2004 team. Andrew Knizner made history two innings later by launching the team's 175th home run of the season. Randy Arozarena's home run in the eighth was the 84th home run hit at AutoZone Park this season, matching the franchise record set by the 2002 squad and later matched by the '04 team. Edmundo Sosa's home run in the first inning of Saturday night's contest was the 85th at this facility, breaking the record. The Redbirds have already hit a franchise record 93 home runs on the road this season as well. Their six home runs last night at New Orleans brought their August total to 53, becoming the first team in franchise history to slug at least 50 home runs in a month.

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 two home runs Sunday brought him to 55 in his Redbirds career, now just one shy of matching Scott Seabol for third. He also has 30 long balls on the season, becoming just the eighth Redbird to reach that mark. His RBI on Wednesday brought him to 174 in his career, just two shy of matching Allen Craig for fourth. He also ranks T-3rd in triples (12), 7th in strikeouts (282), 7th in runs (176), T-7th in hit by pitches (17) and 5th in extra-base hits (125).


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