TONIGHT'S GAME: The Iowa Cubs and Round Rock Express play the final game of a four-game series at Dell Diamond. The Express are the Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Texas Rangers. This is the only stop on this road trip for the Cubs and the last of 19 straight games against American League affiliates. The Cubs are 20-18 against AL affiliates this season.
BATTLE OF THE BIG INNINGS: Both teams did all of their scoring in one turn at-bat last night and the Cubs' five-run second inning was enough to top the Express' four-run third for a victory. Chris Valaika, Eli Whiteside, and Logan Watkins all hit solo homers in the Cubs' rally, setting a season-high for home runs in a single frame this year. Whiteside and Watkins hit the team's first back-to-back home runs of the year. The last Cubs to hit consecutive home runs were Dave Sappelt and Mike Olt on August 6 last season at Tacoma. Whiteside, who played for Round Rock last season, has hit two of his four home runs this year at Dell Diamond.
POWER BALL: The Cubs have hit seven home runs through the first three games of this series. This ties a season-high for home runs in a series. The Cubs hit seven home runs in their first series at Dell Diamond, May 19-22. The Cubs set their single-game home run record with eight at Dell Diamond on August 9, 2008. The Cubs rank 11th in the PCL with 87 home runs through 100 games. Las Vegas leads the league with 125.
WHAT A RELIEF: The Cubs got great work out of their bullpen last night after starter Eric Jokisch came out after four innings. Carlos Pimentel (2-6) pitched three scoreless innings and struck out four to earn the win. It was his first victory since April 9 against Nashville. Marcos Mateo allowed one hit and struck out the side in the eighth. Mateo has not allowed a run in 7.2 innings over his last five appearances. Blake Parker worked a perfect ninth and earned a save for the second straight night. He leads the league with 20 saves this year. The Cubs' bullpen has allowed just one run in 17.0 innings in their last six games.
THE RIFLEMAN: OF Matt Szczur had two assists from the outfield last night and leads the league with 11 outfield assists this year. This is the most for a Cub outfielder since Sam Fuld had 11 in 2009.
VS. ROUND ROCK: The Cubs lead this series 3-0 and lead the season series 9-6. The Cubs have guaranteed a win of the season series over the Express for the first time since finishing 11-5 in 2010. The Cubs and Express split the first three head-to-head series this season, including an extended eight-game set where both teams hosted four games in their home park, May 15-22. This is the final series between the teams this year. Last year, the Express won the season series 10-6, including a 6-2 mark at Dell Diamond. The Express lead the all-time series 81-78 and hold a 43-36 advantage at home.
SWEEP THE LEG: The Cubs are seeking their first four-game series sweep of the season. The Cubs did sweep a three-game series at Colorado Springs, April 24-26, with the final game lost to weather. The Cubs have only swept one series at Dell Diamod. That was a four-game set, May 27-30, 2005. The Cubs' last four-game sweep was, August 26-29 last season at home over Omaha in the final home series of the season.
LUCKY 13: INF Javy Baez was 1-for-3 with a two-run double that capped the Cubs' five-run second inning last night. The hit extended his season-high hitting streak to 13 games. He is batting .288 (15-for-52) with six doubles, five home runs, 14 RBI, and nine runs scored during this steak. He is tied with Arismendy Alcantara for the longest hitting streak on the team this season. Alcantara had a 13-game hitting streak, June 22-July 3.
BIG FLY BRYANT: 3B Kris Bryant homered in the first two games of this series and has 11 home runs in 27 games with the I-Cubs this year. Combined with his 22 home runs at double-A Tennessee, Bryant leads all of Minor League Baseball with 33 home runs. Bryant also leads the minors in total bases (247), extra-base hits (60), slugging (.712), and OPS (1.157). He is tied for first in RBI (84), tied for second in runs (80), third in batting average (.349), and fourth in OBP (.445).
NO JOKING MATTER: Pitching for the first time in 10 days, LH Eric Jokisch came out after just four innings last night, matching his shortest start of the season. Jokisch still leads the league with 118.0 innings pitched this year and ranks fourth in both strikeouts (108) and WHIP (1.15).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.