Columbus Clippers 6, Iowa Cubs 5 – W: Broom (1-1) L: Mekkes (0-2) S: Johnson (6)
For the second time in the series Sunday, Columbus jumped on Iowa starter Mike Hauschild for four runs in the opening four innings — but its bullpen struggled to keep the team in contention for the win.
However, hot-hitting newcomer Oscar Gonzalez, who hit his first Triple-A home run Wednesday, had a chance to do damage when he stepped to the plate with the bases loaded, two outs and his team down 5-4 to the Cubs.
Owning a 10-game on-base streak and he previously had an 8-game hitting streak broken Friday, Gonzalez battled through a 1-2 count before blooping the fourth pitch from Iowa right-hander Dakota Mekkes over Trent Giambrone at second base.
Connor Marabell walked in from third base while Gabriel Arias raced home from second, scoring while standing up to give Columbus a 6-5 lead.
“I’ve played with Oscar throughout the past three or four years on and off at the other levels. Playing with him is something special everyday,” catcher Gavin Collins said. “He’s gonna play hard, he’s gonna give you great at-bats, and he’s gonna have a great time and a fun time doing it. He’s a good dude to be around. Very quiet, but happy-go-lucky. He loves to play baseball.”
Gonzalez’s hit was Columbus’ sixth and final of the afternoon, as Iowa’s pitching staff excelled by not leaving many pitches over the plate.
But with that nibbling, however, was a lack of control. The Cubs’ pitching staff hit a Clippers batter in five of the first seven innings while walking three over the course of the game.
Columbus left eight runners on base and stranded a pair of runners in the first and fifth innings. Collins said he thought Iowa’s pitchers excelled at managing the tempo of the game, especially when the Clippers tried to spark a rally.
“They did a good job holding the baseball and kind of threw us out of rhythm a little bit early on in the games,” Collins said. “I think our hitters did a great job of battling and staying in on pitches and hanging in there on tough at-bats, long at-bats where the pitcher’s holding the baseball for a while. I thought guys did a great job combatting that.”
The Clippers cashed in for three runs on one swing in the bottom of the first inning. Nolan Jones hammered a 3-run blast off the batter’s eye to give his team an early lead behind his fourth home run of the series.
Columbus plated its fourth run in the fourth inning when Collins showed exceptional baserunning after getting hit by a pitch with one out. Collins ran from first to third base on second baseman Tyler Kreiger’s single to right field, and the former scored on an errant back-pick attempt to first base by Cubs catcher Tony Wolters.
Iowa tied the game at four in the top of the sixth inning, mounting a rally behind right fielder and former Clipper Trayce Thompson’s leadoff solo shot. Right-hander Jordan Stephens allowed five-straight hits, and center fielder Ian Miller and shortstop Sergio Alcantara each had RBI singles.
Left fielder Nick Martini gave the Cubs a brief 5-4 lead with a one-out home run off righty Robert Broom in the top of the seventh inning, sending one out to the patio above the right field wall. Although Iowa’s advantage was short lived, all nine starters in the Cubs’ lineup recorded a hit, as Thompson and Miller led the way with two each.
Columbus right-hander DJ Johnson pitched a four-out save and pumped his typical mid-90s fastball with his off-speed offerings to strike out a pair.
Oscar Gonzalez: 1-for-3, 2 RBI, HBP
Nolan Jones: 1-for-4, 3-run HR
Gabriel Arias: 1-for-3, R, 2B, HBP
1st: 89 90 90 89 83 89 89 90 90 83 89 83 88 89
2nd: 90 90 82 90 91 90 90 83 88 90 90 91 82 89 87 81 90 89 88 82 90 89 83 84 83 82
3rd: 81 89 91 82 84 91 83 87 89 82 92 87 87 86 90 87 86 82 84 81 88 88 81 83
4th: 89 82 86 89 81 82 81 82 83 83 82 89 89 83 90 83
5th: 88 83 89 81 81 82 82 81 87 87
5th: 87 90 77 91 88 85 88 92 92 78 93 88 92 90
6th: 84 93 84 92 78 88 90 88 77 89 88 92 85 87 87 88 84 93 89
7th: 75 86 75 76 74 90 88 82 90 75 90 75 88 89 82 92
8th: 87 86 74 88 75 82 75 88 82 89 81 89 83
8th: 81 83 95 82 96
Zack Godley posts most-quality outing since joining Cleveland organization
31-year-old Zack Godley hasn’t had the smoothest beginning to his tenure since signing with the Cleveland Indians June 29.
The right-hander allowed 15 runs over his first four starts with Triple-A Columbus, not completing more than four innings in any.
Godley proved he had much better left in the tank during his start Sunday. He began by striking out the side in the top of the first inning, using an 83 mph change-up for two punch outs and throwing 10 of his 14 pitches for strikes.
He surrendered an RBI double to Miller an inning later after a tough single to shallow center field by Thompson and four-pitch walk to Walters set the table. Godley recorded back-to-back strikeouts in the third inning after allowing two singles, including a swinging bunt to Cubs designated hitter Frank Schwindel.
Godley walked two of the final five hitters he faced, but Gonzalez turned a 9-3 double play by racing to his left and snagging a fly ball hit by Miller and firing to first base to complete the fourth inning.
Collins said he was proud of Godley for making the right pitches when he had to and controlling the pace of the game.
“First couple innings [Godley] had great stuff and then the last three innings he threw he didn’t have his best stuff,” Collins said. “But he did a really good job slowing himself down and taking his sweet time like there’s no rush.”
Godley struck out six over his 4 1/3 innings, the former the third-most figure for his season and the latter the longest of his Columbus career. His one run allowed was also tied for the second-fewest of his season — the fewest coming at Huntington Park against the Clippers when he was a member of the Nashville Sounds May 27.
Zack Godley: 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 K, 5 H, 3 BB
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