TONIGHT'S GAME: The Iowa Cubs and Oklahoma City RedHawks play game three of a five-game series at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The RedHawks are the Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Houston Astros. This is the 12th game of the Cubs' longest road trip of the season. The team is in a stretch of 14 games over 14 days away from Principal Park. The Cubs are 7-4 on this road trip after going 4-1 in New Orleans and 2-2 at Omaha on their first two stops.
SOLER POWER: DH Jorge Soler had a double, a home run, three RBI, and scored three runs to lead the Cubs to an 8-5 win over the RedHawks last night. Soler's homer was a two-run shot in the top of the third inning off RedHawks' starter Nick Tropeano that gave the Cubs a lead they would not relinquish in the game. Soler has hit safely in three straight games, going 6-for-11 (.545) with two doubles, two home runs, six RBI, and six runs scored in this stretch. Soler has five home runs in 16 games with Iowa and has hit safely in 11 of his 13 starts. Last night's home run was his 12th overall this year and the 25th of his pro career.
HOMECOMING KING: RH Dallas Beeler (8-5) allowed three runs on nine hits in six innings to post his 11th quality start in 16 games this season and earned the win last night. The outing was Beeler's first professional start in his home state of Oklahoma. The Cubs lead the league with 68 quality starts this season and rank second with a 3.78 (438ER/1044.0IP) team ERA. Nashville is first with a 3.57 mark. The Iowa franchise record for lowest team ERA in a season is 3.84 set in 1974.
POWER BALL: The Cubs have hit 18 home runs in 11 games on this road trip. The Cubs lead the league with 12 home runs this month and 46 home runs since July 1. 3B Kris Bryant leads the league with 15 home runs since he joined the Cubs from double-A on June 19. The Cubs rank eighth in the PCL with 113 home runs this year. Las Vegas leads the league with 146.
STEAL OF A DEAL: 2B Logan Watkins stole third base in the fifth inning last night. It was was his 19th stolen base of the season, putting him within one of reaching his third career 20-steal season. The Cubs are tied with Omaha for the league lead with 119 stolen bases.
VS. REDHAWKS: This series is tied 1-1, but the RedHawks lead the season series 5-4. The RedHawks won two-of-three against the Cubs in the first series in Bricktown, July 4-6. The teams split a four-game set at Principal Park, July 11-13. The Cubs and RedHawks will meet four four games in Des Moines, August 29-September 1, to finish the regular season. Last year, the Cubs and RedHawks split the season series 8-8, with both teams finishing 6-2 at home. The Cubs have lost eight of their last 10 games at Bricktown and are 5-24 in Oklahoma City since the start of the 2011 season. The Cubs haven't won consecutive games in Bricktown since winning three straight, July 31-August 2, 2010. The Cubs lead the all-time PCL series 119-111, but the RedHawks hold a 61-54 advantage in their home games.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: 3B Kris Bryant was 1-for-4, got hit by a pitch, and scored two runs last night. He has at least one hit and has scored a run in 11 straight games and is batting .389 (14-for-36) with three doubles, four home runs, 17 runs scored, and nine RBI during this stretch. He leads the PCL with 26 runs scored since the All-Star Break. In his first full season of pro ball, Bryant is batting a combined .341 (142-for-416) with 37 home runs and 96 RBI in 116 games between double-A and the I-Cubs this season. Joey Gallo of double-A Frisco homered last night to go ahead of Bryant in the minor league home run race with 38 on the year. Bryant leads the minors in extra-base hits (70), total bases (284), slugging (.688), and OPS (1.135). He is second in RBI, runs scored (103), and OBP (.448).
SAVINGS PLAN: RH Blake Parker finished the final 1.1 innings last night to earn his league-leading 22nd save of the season. This ties his high for a single-season with Iowa. He also saved 22 games for the I-Cubs in 2009. He saved three games for double-A Tennessee that year, setting his career-high at 25. Parker now has two of the top three single-season save totals in franchise history. Jermaine Van Buren set the single-season record with 25 in 2005. Marc Pisciotta also saved 22 in 1997. Parker is Iowa's career leader with 63 saves in 185 games. Parker is tied for sixth in all of minor league baseball in saves this season. Arik Sikula of high-A Dunedin leads the minors with 27.