SOUTH BEND, IN - The South Bend Cubs (42-38) used three homers and 12 hits to overcome the Lansing Lugnuts (40-37) 11-4 at Four Winds Field on Sunday night as Chicago Cubs starting right fielder, Jason Heyward made his second rehab start with South Bend in 2017.
While fans were excited to see Heyward go 1-1 with a RBI, a walk and a run scored, a fourth inning rain-delay shortened his playing time and led to an early exit as the Cubs maintained caution concerning the rehabbing big leaguer.
The Chicago Cubs' Single-A affiliate launched three homers off the bats of Vimael Machin (8), Michael Cruz (1), and Kevonte Mitchell (9) to score seven of their 11 runs.
The Cubs have now hit 45 home runs in 80 games (0.56 home runs per game) good for the fourth fewest in the league. By contrast, the Midwest leading West Michigan Whitecaps (54-24) have hit 35 home runs in 78 games (0.45 home runs per game) but they still hold the best record between both divisions.
HEYWARD'S 2ND REHAB ASSIGNMENT: The 2007 first round pick returned to Four Winds Field for his second rehab start of 2017 after sustaining a deep cut on his catching hand while making a sliding catch at PNC Park against the Pittsburg Pirates on June 18.
Heyward's first rehab assignment at Four Winds Field came on May 18 as a result of a sprained finger he sustained while making a sliding catch 10 days earlier.
Though he has now sustained two injuries on sliding catches in back-to-back months, he managed to catch both balls he slid for simultaneously showing why he was a 2016 Gold Glover award winner in right field.
WHAT HAPPENED: The Lugnuts scored two runs on another first inning two-run shot, this time coming from Edward Olivares, for the second night in a row to take the early 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the frame, Vimael Machin single-handedly put the Cubs in the lead with a deep three-run homer to score Roberto Caro and Heyward, who walked in his first at-bat.
With Cubs starting pitcher Manuel Rondon battling control issues in the second inning, a wild pitch allowed Javier Hernandez to move to third and later score Rodrigo Orozco's single to tie the game 3-3.
Yet, the Cubs' returned fire for the second straight inning to score two more runs on Michael Cruz' solo shot and Heyward's RBI-single.
After a rain delay in the fourth, the game went scoreless until the bottom of the sixth when the Cubs scored after Alberto Mineo tripled and Adonis Paula hit a RBI-single to score Mineo from third.
South Bend would keep the offense going in the bottom of the seventh as Joe Martarano, one of the Cubs' newest additions, hit a fielders choice to score Kevonte Mitchell and give the Cubs a 7-3 lead.
The Lugnuts came back with a run in the top of the eighth on a Yeltsin Gudino single.
But once again, the Cubs would return with more scoring of their own in the bottom of the eighth to keep the Lugnuts at bay.
This time getting it done for the Cubs was Caro who hit a RBI-single to score Cruz, which was then promptly followed by Kevonte Mitchell's three-run bomb to give the Cubs the 11-4 lead that would end up becoming the final score.
Cubs: Erling Moreno is scheduled to take the mound for the Cubs in tomorrow's final game of the series. Moreno is 1-2 with a 4.06 ERA in 31 innings pitched this season. Jason Heyward is scheduled to return to the South Bend lineup tomorrow as he continues to rehab his cut catching hand.
Lugnuts: Denis Diaz is scheduled to take on the Cubs in Game 4 tomorrow night. Diaz is 0-5 with a 7.33 ERA in 54 innings pitched this season.
Photo credit: Emma Reese
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.