* Iowa’s game vs. Oklahoma City was postponed because of rain, and will be made up April 20 as part of a doubleheader. On Sunday, Barret Loux was scheduled to start for the I-Cubs.
* Albert Almora went 5-for-5 and Wilson Contreras hit a three-run homer in the sixth to lead Tennessee to a 7-1 win over Pensacola. Felix Pena gave up one run on four hits over six innings for his second quality start.
* Duane Underwood gave up one run on two hits over six innings in Myrtle Beach’s 4-1 win over Winston Salem in the first game of a doubleheader. Shawon Dunston Jr. had two hits, including his second triple, and stole a base. In the second game, Paul Blackburn gave up three earned runs over five innings for the win and Ben Carhart hit his first homer in an 8-4 victory. Jeimer Candelario had two hits, both doubles.
* Trey Martin had two hits in South Bend’s 5-4 loss to Great Lakes.
Kris Bryant hit his second homer in as many days and drove in three runs and Addison Russell went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, hitting his first Triple-A home run, to lead Iowa to a 7-2 victory over Memphis on Sunday. Jonathan Mota also homered for Iowa, which plays at New Orleans Monday night. Drake Britton earned the win Sunday in relief.
Dan Vogelbach went 3-for-5 with two RBIs in Tennessee’s 6-3 win over Mississippi. Christian Villanueva had two hits and three RBIs and Albert Almora hda two hits and scored two runs. The Smokies totaled 16 hits and went 6-for-19 with RISP.
Tyler Skulina gave up one run on three hits over five innings but took the loss as Myrtle Beach was beaten, 5-0, by Wilmington. Chris Denorfia went 1-for-2 with a double in the first game of a rehab assignment.
Zach Hedges gave up two earned runs over five innings for the win as South Bend beat Dayton, 8-3. Five players drove in a run for the South Bend Cubs, including Rashad Crawford, who had three RBIs.
* Manager Joe Maddon is still tinkering with what he wants to do with the batting order. He’s experimented with the pitcher in the No. 8 spot twice (Jason Hammel and Travis Wood), and said he likes having Arismendy Alcantara follow in the No. 9 spot because it’s like having another leadoff batter.
* Javier Baez led off Thursday, the second time he’s done that this spring.
“Part of it is to try to increase his confidence and let him know we support him,” Maddon said.
They’re hoping Baez can focus on hitting the ball up the middle and getting on base.
* Junior Lake moved to the infield Wednesday, and that’s also part of Maddon’s machinations. He doesn’t expect to start Lake at third, but could move him there if needed.
“I like to be able to try to present all the options in advance so they’re not surprised when the actual moment shows up,” Maddon said. “Players like that little bit of heads up.”
* Albert Almora, 20, the Cubs’ first-round pick in 2012, was assigned to Minor League camp Thursday.
“He’s kind of a complete baseball player and really young,” Maddon said. “He’s the kind of kid who you know will be a great teammate. Ego does not get in the way at all. I see him as a fine Major League baseball player.”
* Maddon was not happy that Edwin Jackson arrived late to his game in Mesa on Tuesday and spoke to the pitcher about it in private.
— Carrie Muskat
Chris Coghlan hit a two-run homer and a sacrifice fly and Albert Almora had two hits, both doubles, and drove in two runs to lift the Cubs to a 7-5 victory over the Dodgers on Wednesday in Glendale. Jake Arrieta gave up five runs on seven hits over four innings, striking out five. Said Arrieta: “I just need to be a little more precise with things earlier in counts so I’m not in hitter friendly counts in big situations, and moving forward, that’s something I’ll put emphasis on.”
C.J. Edwards gave up two hits over two scoreless innings, and Hector Rondon survived a comebacker by Darwin Barney that the Cubs pitcher knocked down, and was able to recover in time to throw out his former teammate.
Almora was not scheduled to start, but subbed for Matt Szczur who was a little bruised after crashing into the left field
wall on Tuesday. Szczur is day to day.
Up next: The Cubs will play two on Thursday, beginning with a “B” game at Sloan Park in Mesa against the Angels at 1 p.m. Arizona time. Kyle Hendricks will start that game and Kris Bryant is scheduled to DH. The regular game will start at 6:40 p.m. Arizona time as the Cubs travel to Scottsdale to face the Diamondbacks.
— Carrie Muskat
Two Cubs prospects hit for the cycle on Monday: Albert Almora and Mark Zagunis
The Iowa Cubs have Monday and Tuesday off as part of the PCL All-Star break. Blake Parker, Kyle Hendricks and Tsuyoshi Wada will represent the I-Cubs. Arismendy Alcantara also was named to the team, but is now on the Cubs’ big league roster and will not participate.
Charles Cutler hit an inside the park, two-run home run in the fifth to tie the game but it wasn’t enough as Tennessee lost, 6-5, to Jacksonville on Monday. It was Cutler’s third homer of the season.
Albert Almora hit for the cycle, completing it with a triple in the 13th, to help Daytona beat Jupiter, 13-8. Almora is the first Daytona player to hit for the cycle since Brett Jackson did so on June 14, 2010. Almora went 5-for-7 with five RBIs and hit a home run to lead off the game. Marco Hernandez and Bijan Rademacher also homered. Dan Vogelbach and Jordan Hankins each had three hits.
Beloit scored two runs in the ninth to beat Kane County, 3-2. The Cougars totaled four hits, including a two-run double by David Bote. Before the game, Kyle Schwarber, the Cubs’ first-round pick in the June Draft, was promoted to Daytona.
Mark Zagunis hit for the cycle to help Boise beat Spokane, 11-6. Zagunis hit his first home run in the fourth, and finished 4-for-5 with three runs and four RBIs. Tyler Ihrig picked up the win. Jeffrey Baez extended his hitting streak to 17 games with two hits.
Alberto Mineo hit his first home run to help Mesa beat the Giants, 5-1. Dillon Maples threw three scoreless innings. Carson Sands struck out two in a scoreless sixth for the win.
Chris Rusin gave up one earned run over seven innings in Iowa’s 4-3 win over Omaha. Arismendy Alcantara had two hits, including his 11th triple, and one RBIs. He’s batting .469 in his last 12 games. Kris Bryant also had two hits, including a double, and one RBI. NOTE: The Iowa Cubs announced Tsuyoshi Wada, Blake Parker, Kyle Hendricks and Arismendy Alcantara were named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star team.
Pierce Johnson threw 7 1/3 shutout innings in Tennessee’s 7-0 win over Montgomery. Johnson gave up one hit and walked two while striking out five in his first start since coming off the disabled list. Luis Flores homered, and Kevin Brown had three hits and two RBIs. NOTE: Christian Villanueva was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to June 30.
Daytona committed three errors in a 4-3 loss to Brevard county. Albert Almora posted his third multi-hit game in his last four, going 3-for-3. Dan Vogelbach drove in two runs.
Tyler Skulina gave up three runs over two-thirds of an inning in Kane County’s 8-5 loss to Peoria. Jacob Hannemann, Yasiel Balaguert and Kyle Schwarber each had two hits.
Erick Leal gave up one unearned run over six innings in Boise’s 8-3 win over Tri-City. Jesse Hodges homered for the third time in his last two games, and his fourth of the year.
Eloy Jimenez hit his first home run, a two-run shot in the sixth, to help Mesa beat the Padres, 6-4. Alberto Mineo and Ricardo Marcano each had two hits.
Iowa’s game against Memphis was postponed because of rain. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Friday. They were already scheduled to play two games today. Dallas Beeler and Tsuyoshi Wada get the starts.
Austin Kirk walked in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th as Tennessee lost, 2-1, to Huntsville. Corey Black did not get a decision, throwing 5 1/3 scoreless innings. He struck out six but walked four. Kris Bryant drew four walks. He’s batting .387 this month.
Tayler Scott gave up two earned runs over 5 2/3 innings in Daytona’s 8-4 win over Palm Beach. Albert Almora had two hits and three RBI.
Trey Martin hit a grand slam to help Kane County beat Peoria, 5-4. Duane Underwood gave up two runs over six innings. Martin connected in the seventh. Jacob Hannemann had two hits, his 11th multi-hit game.
Iowa was off on Wednesday, and will resume play Thursday against Round Rock in Des Moines.
Tennessee’s game against Jackson was canceled because of inclement weather. The Smokies face Mississippi on Thursday and Corey Black is scheduled to start.
Tim Saunders hit a grand slam and Albert Almora went 2-for-4 with his second homer to lead Daytona to a 6-2 win over Charlotte. Almora drove in two runs and is batting .258. Saunders also stole a base, and his 10 steals rank fifth in the league.
Juan Paniagua gave up two runs over 3 2/3 innings and took the loss in Kane County’s 2-1 loss to Beloit. Kane County totaled four hits, including two singles from Cael Brockmeyer and Jacob Rogers.
* Chris Rusin gave up five runs — four earned — on eight hits over six innings in Iowa’s 8-0 loss to Nashville. The I-Cubs totaled two hits — one by Rusin and another by Logan Watkins. It was Rusin’s first start since throwing a no-hitter.
“I’m a pitcher that needs luck sometimes to keep the ball in the infield but today those balls were squeaking through that they were catching the other day,” Rusin told the Des Moines Register.
* Stephen Bruno was 4-for-5 with two RBIs and Kris Bryant belted his league-leading 11th home run and drove in four in Tennessee’s 10-7 win over Jackson. P.J. Francescon picked up the win in relief of Jose Veras, who started the game and threw one inning.
* Albert Almora was 3-for-5 with three doubles and four RBIs in Daytona’s 12-0 win over Charlotte. Ben Wells picked up the win, striking out eight over six innings.
* David Bote had two hits, including a RBI single, but it wasn’t enough as Kane County lost, 3-2, to Beloit. Daury Torrez did not get a decision, throwing six shutout innings. He gave up three hits and walked one.
Here’s an update on the Cubs’ “core four” top Minor League prospects through Sunday, May 5:
Javier Baez: 20 Gs at Iowa, .149 (11 for 74), 3 HR, 1 2B, 1 3B, 10 RBI, 31 Ks
Kris Bryant: 29 Gs at Tennessee, .295 (31-for-105), 6 HR, 8 2B, 0 3B, 15 RBI, 35 Ks
Jorge Soler: 1 G at Tennessee, 1.000 (1-for-1), 1 2B (On DL, hamstring strain)
Albert Almora: 23 Gs at Daytona, .247 (23-for-93), 1 HR, 6 2B, 0 3B, 11 RBI, 10 Ks
Top batters (minimum 70 at-bats):
Chris Valaika .322/.416/.483
Arismendy Alcantara .275/.290/.490
Matt Szczur .267/.337/.347
Rafael Lopez .310/.456/.521
John Andreoli .310/.430/.402
Kris Bryant .295/.417/.543
Class A Daytona
Bijan Rademacher .350/.429/.513
Marco Hernandez .305/.345/.354
Tim Saunders .253/.315/.410
Class A Kane County
Yasiel Balaguert .282/.309/.350
Danny Lockhart .262/.328/.299
Carlos Penalver .259/.331/.324