South Bend, IN: Drew Smyly needed just 13 pitches in his rehab start to leave the crowd at Four Winds Field chatting about when they may see him pitching for the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
With 13 pitches and 10 strikes, Smyly struck out every hitter he faced. Taylor Walls and Moises Gomez both went down looking, while Jim Haley struck out swinging to end the first inning. Smyly mentioned in his post-start media session that there was no pain in his left elbow and he felt good.
After Smyly departed, the Hot Rods got off to quick start against piggyback reliever Javier Assad. With two runs in the top of the 3rd inning, they took a quick 2-0 lead, but the Cubs answered with a run in their half of the 3rd to cut the lead in half. Assad departed after five innings of relief in line for the loss.
Still a 2-1 game heading to the 8th, another piggyback reliever, Ryan Williams took his turn. After retiring the first two of the frame quickly, Williams got two bad breaks as Taylor Walls stole second base when the replay showed he was out. Another tough break was on an outside corner 50/50 pitch that was called a ball with two strikes on Gomez.
The Hot Rods plated two runs in the 8th to lead 4-1. The Cubs again answered with a run in the 9th, but closer Matt Seelinger shut the door the rest of the way to earn the save.
With the loss, the Cubs fall to 63-72 heading into the series finale and rubber game tomorrow. South Bend can possibly be eliminated from a playoff spot tonight if the West Michigan Whitecaps go on to win. First pitch from Four Winds Field tomorrow in the finale is set for 7:35 PM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.