Outfielder Albert Almora debuted with Double-A Tennessee on Thursday and right-hander Pierce Johnson threw six scoreless innings to lead the Smokies to a 4-2 victory against Mississippi.
Almora, the Cubs' No. 4 prospect and No. 14 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, played center field and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in his first game with Tennessee. He began the season with Class A Advanced Daytona, where he hit .283/.306/.406 with seven home runs in 89 games before earning a promotion Tuesday night.
Shortstop Addison Russell, the Cubs' No. 3 prospect and No. 11 overall, led the Smokies offense Thursday. He went 2-for-4 and scored two runs.
Johnson, the Cubs' No. 8 prospect and No. 80 on the Top 100, matched a season-high with eight strikeouts and scattered two hits and three walks. All three of the walks came in the first two innings before he settled into the game and retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced.
Johnson suffered two leg injuries in the first half of the season, keeping him sidelined for nearly two months. He's been healthy since returning to Tennessee at the start of July and, with Thursday's victory, he improved to 3-4 with a 2.98 ERA in 10 outings with Tennessee this season. He has struck out 49 batters and walked 37 in 54 1/3 innings.