Cubs' Geiger off the charts, plates eight

Designated hitter ties RBI record in Peoria's 11-10 slugfest win

Dustin Geiger has 46 RBIs in 47 Midwest League games. (Paul R. Gierhart/

By Ashley Marshall / Special to | August 1, 2012 6:16 PM ET

Cubs prospect Dustin Geiger woke up Wednesday morning well aware that the calendar had flipped to August.

After all, he batted .206 in 27 July contests for Peoria, and he had recorded just three hits in his previous 20 at-bats. Anxious to put those struggles behind him, he knew one good performance could set him up for a strong finish to the year.

Geiger went 3-for-5 with two homers and eight RBIs as the Class A Chiefs rallied past the Quad Cities River Bandits, 11-10.

"Everything was clicking and I saw the ball very well," he said. "I've never had a game like today. You could say it might have been a career day.

"I had a good month in June. From a home run standpoint, July was decent, but from an average standpoint, it was not where I wanted it to be. I told myself this morning, 'It's August 1. It's a new month and I need to make the most of it. I want to finish strong.'"

Batting fourth and serving as the Chiefs' designated hitter, the 20-year-old smacked a three-run homer to left field with one out in the first inning.

"The first pitch was a ball outside and I fouled a fastball off down the third-base line," Geiger said of his first at-bat. "[Hector Hernandez] threw me a 1-1 changeup, and when I saw it was up in the zone, I wanted to swing at it. I was hoping to hit it deep to the outfield to get the run in, but it was a line drive over the left-center field fence."

After grounding out to end the third, Geiger took Hernandez's 1-0 fastball and ripped a bases-clearing double to the left-center field gap in the fifth to give Peoria a 6-5 lead.

He flew out for the second out of the seventh, but got the last laugh by delivering a go-ahead two-run homer -- his 13th longball of the year -- in the top of the ninth.

"They brought in a sidearm guy," Geiger said. "Javier Baez just one-hopped the wall, so I was looking to get him home from second base. He hung a slider that stayed up in the zone. I wasn't sure I had got all of it, but it got over the wall and gave us the lead.

"Everybody got on base for me today and gave me a chance to produce. It was an up-and-down game and I think the lead changed six times. To have a good performance like this in a three-and-a-half hour game, great emotions were running."

Geiger's eight RBIs tied a team record set by Joe Jumonville at Kane County on April 14, 1995. It was later matched by Andy Bevins on May 15, 1998 against South Bend.

The third baseman, who had two homers against Burlington on July 4, is the first Chief to have two multi-homer games in a season since Anthony Giansanti achieved the feat last year.

"All the credit goes to the coaching staff. I've been working with the hitting coach [Barbaro Garbey] and he has helped shorten my swing.

"I went down to the instructional league last year and we cut down on my leg kick. This year we moved my hands; they were in a higher slot, but now they're lower. We wanted to make sure I stayed back and got my front foot down on time."

The outing raised Geiger's average to .258, and he hopes, signals a change in fortunes at the plate.

Selected by the Cubs in the 24th round of the 2010 Draft out of Merritt Island High School in Florida, Geiger spent the first two months of the year on the disabled list after breaking the hamate bone in his left hand.

"It was the last day of Spring Training. I remember it well because it was the day before we shipped out," said Geiger, who stayed in Mesa, Ariz., to rehab the injury.

"I was set to go to Peoria to start the season, but in my first at-bat that day, I fouled a pitch off and felt a pain shoot through my hand. I went out to play defense and when I realized I couldn't close my glove, I knew I had to call the trainer."

Geiger is now in his third year of pro ball. He hit .244 in 35 games for Chicago's Arizona League affiliate in 2010, and he batted .264 with three homers and 33 RBIs across two levels last season.

On Wednesday, right-hander Bryce Shafer (1-2) earned the win after striking out four batters over 1 2/3 innings. He allowed one hit and lowered his ERA to 5.48. Cubs starter Zach Cates allowed four runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four batters over 2 2/3 innings.

Quad Cities' Dixon Llorens (0-1) surrendered three runs over an inning of work in the losing cause.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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