After losing the first game of a doubleheader, the Oklahoma City Dodgers shut out the New Orleans Baby Cakes, 2-0, in the second game to split the pair of games Saturday evening at the Shrine on Airline.
New Orleans (34-55) used an early burst in in game one to pave the way to a 6-1 victory. The Dodgers (49-39) were able to regroup in game two, as Wilmer Font and Jeremy Bleich combined on a three-hit shutout, marking the team’s sixth shutout of the season.
Font went four-plus innings and was pulled early in order to start the Triple-A All-Star Game this coming Wednesday. He allowed two hits and two walks with five strikeouts, and retired 12 of 13 batters at one point. Bleich (2-0) followed Font after a leadoff walk in the fifth inning and retired nine of the 10 batters he faced, with four via strikeout, to pick up the win.
The Baby Cakes threatened to take the early lead against Font in the first inning, putting the first two batters on base. Font retired the next three hitters to send the game to the second inning still scoreless.
Between the second and fifth innings, the teams combined for just two hits and each team put only one runner in scoring position.
Entering the sixth inning, the Dodgers had been held to one run in the doubleheader and just one run over the last 15 innings going back to Friday night. Drew Maggi drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Mike Freeman. Later in the inning the Dodgers had runners at the corners with two outs, and Willie Calhoun lined a double to deep right field to score Maggi and give OKC a 1-0 lead.
After an intentional walk to Edwin Rios loaded the bases, Charlie Culberson flied out to end the inning.
Bleich retired the side in order in the sixth, and he made his second career plate appearance in the seventh inning. He attempted to advance Bobby Wilson on a sac bunt, but Wilson was forced out at second base. After Maggi drew another walk and Freeman at the plate, Bleich advanced to third base on a ball that got only a few feet away from New Orleans catcher Austin Nola.
Now with runners at second and third base, Freeman grounded out, but Maggi took off on contact while Bleich stayed put. The Baby Cakes had Maggi in a rundown, but first baseman Cal Towey decided to throw behind Bleich. The throw went into foul territory, allowing Bleich to score and make it 2-0.
In the bottom of the seventh, Towey singled with one out, but Bleich got each of the next two batters to fly out and end the game.
The win avoided a fourth straight loss by the Dodgers and prevented the Baby Cakes from winning four straight for the first time all season.
New Orleans reliever Javy Guerra (2-3) took the loss, allowing the go-ahead run in the sixth inning.
In game one, the Dodgers grabbed the day’s first lead on a big swing by Rios in the second inning. With one out, Rios hit his first home run since being promoted to Oklahoma City from Double-A Tulsa earlier in the week. His home run ball landed midway up the grass hill beyond right-center field to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead for his 16th overall home run of the season..
The Baby Cakes answered in the bottom of the frame, scoring four runs to take the lead.
Towey led off with a double for New Orleans, then scored on a one-out single to right field by Peter Mooney to knot the game, 1-1.
Mooney advanced to second base when Dodgers starting pitcher Madison Younginer’s throw toward second base on a force out attempt went into center field.
Mike Aviles followed with a RBI double before Christian Colon came up to bat and lined a two-run double into center field for a 4-1 Baby Cakes advantage.
The Baby Cakes added to their lead in the third inning.
With one out, Towey drew a walk and advanced to second base on a wild pitch by Younginer. Matt Juengel followed with a RBI double to push New Orleans’ lead to 5-1. Mooney’s second RBI single of the day extended the Baby Cakes’ lead to 6-1.
The Dodgers were held to four hits in the game as the Baby Cakes reached double digits with 10 hits. Rios collected two of Oklahoma City’s hits in the game.
Younginer (3-3) was charged with the loss, allowing six runs (five earned) and eight hits over 2.1 innings with one walk and two strikeouts.
New Orleans starting pitcher Scott Copeland (6-8) got the win, holding Oklahoma City to one run and four hits over six innings, with three walks and six strikeouts.
The Dodgers and Baby Cakes finish their series and play the final game before the All-Star Break Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Live coverage begins at 12:45 p.m. on AM 1340 “The Game,” 1340thegame.com, or through the free iHeartRadio mobile app.
Video highlights of today’s game are available at the PCL FTP site, pacificcoastleague.exavault.com, in the New Orleans folder. The proper files will reflect today’s date, and are accompanied by a text file containing a brief description of the content available.
New Orleans Baby Cakes (34-54) 6, Oklahoma City Dodgers (48-39) 1
July 8, 2017