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Danny Espinosa (WAS) had three hits and drove-in four runs and Josh Bell (BAL) cracked a three-run homer to cap a seven-run 4th, as the Phoenix Desert Dogs drubbed the Mesa Solar Sox 11-1 this afternoon at HoHoKam Park, clinching the AFL East crown and earning a berth in the 2009 AFL Championship Game versus the Peoria Javelinas next Saturday afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium. 

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With two of the AFL's top starting pitchers on the hill, naturally the game turned into a slugfest, as the Mesa Solar Sox scored eight unanswered runs in the middle innings to overcome a 4-0 deficit, only to blow a four-run 8th inning lead, before scoring the game-winning run on a two-out single in the bottom of the 9th, en route to a 9-8 victory over Surprise Rafters in Arizona Fall League action this afternoon at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.

(And next time you come by, bring my stomach!)...  

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With most all of the Cubs front office personnel, Scouting Department, and Player Development staff watching from the picnic area high above the third-base dugout, Michael Brenly singled twice and scored once, Starlin Castro singled twice (increasing his AFL-leading batting average to .433) and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, and four Cubs pitchers combined to throw seven innings of one-run ball, as the Mesa Solar Sox dropped the Peoria Javelinas 8-1 in Arizona Fall League action at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon.

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Starlin Castro jacked-up his AFL league-leading batting average to .423 as he ripped two singles, knocked-in two runs, and scored one, Josh Vitters tripled and scored, and John Gaub tossed a 1-2-3 7th, leading the Mesa Solar Sox (Cubs, Marlins, Red Sox, Angels, and Twins) to a 7-2 victory over the Peoria Saguaros (Padres, Reds, Indians, Braves, and Astros) in Arizona Fall League action this afternoon at sunny HoHoKam Park in Mesa. 

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Andrew Cashner threw four innings of no run, no hit ball, and Starlin Castro had two hits, drove in a run and scored two more, and made the defensive play of the day, as the Mesa Solar Sox exterminated the Scottsdale Scorpions 12-5 in Arizona Fall League action this afternoon at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.  

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The Cubs opened up a second slot on their 40-man roster today, as they sent IF-OF Bobby Scales outright to AAA Iowa.

The 32-year old switch-hitter made his big league debut in 2009, hitting 242/312/411 in 51 games (138 PA) for the Cubs, while playing 2B, 3B, LF, and RF. Scales was acquired by the Cubs from Iowa on May 4th, after spending ten-plus seasons and playing 1,000+ games in the minor leagues with San Diego, Philadelphia, Boston, and the Cubs.

Scales did his best work for the Cubs coming off the bench, leading all MLB pinch-hitters (minimum 15 PA) in BA, SLG, and OPS in 2009, hitting 500/533/1.204 with 2 HR & 5 RBI, two doubles, and a triple, as a PH.

The University of Michigan alum is eligible to be a Rule 55 Minor League FA, which means he will be free to sign with another organization when the MLB Free-Agent Filing Period ends 15 days after the conclusion of the World Series, unless he opts to sign a 2010 minor league contract with the Cubs.

The Scottsdale Scorpions stung the Mesa Solar Sox 11-1 today at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.

Cubs RHP Andrew Cashner (2008 1st round pick out of TCU) started the game for the Solar Sox and took the loss, but he actually looked very good, allowing just one run on three hits (no walks) with one K, 5/4 GO/FO, and 54 pitches (36 strikes), over 3.2 IP. He also showed an outstanding pickoff move to 1st base, nailing Diamondbacks 2B Pedro Ciriaco (38 SB at AA Mobile in 2009) cold in the top of the 2nd.

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The Angels edged the Cubs 8-7 in AZ Instructional League action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, in what was the final 2009 Instructs game for the Cubs.

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