Sometimes the best way to handle a challenging situation is the less-is-more approach. Count Daniel Johnson among those who subscribe to that theory.Cleveland's No. 16 prospect doubled, singled and drove in two runs as Triple-A Columbus defeated Gwinnett, 7-3, in Game 2 of the International League Governors' Cup semifinals on
Sometimes the best way to handle a challenging situation is the less-is-more approach. Count Daniel Johnson among those who subscribe to that theory.
Cleveland's No. 16 prospect doubled, singled and drove in two runs as Triple-A Columbus defeated Gwinnett, 7-3, in Game 2 of the International League Governors' Cup semifinals on Thursday night at Coolray Park.
The Clippers lead the best-of-5 series, 2-0, and can advance to their first Finals appearance since 2015 with one more win. Johnson knows that last victory can often be the hardest to get, but he has no doubt his team will come out ready to play.
"It's another game. At least that's the way we're looking at it," he said. "We're not going to do too much and play the game the way we always do. As long as everyone keeps doing what they're doing and playing hard, we should be fine. Let's just go get that win."
After going 0-4 in the opener, Johnson provided a pair of key hits for Columbus, which ended the regular season with five straight wins and a league-best 81-59 mark. The 24-year-old flied out in his first at-bat, but drove in his club's first run with a single to left field before scoring on Dioner Navarro's three-run homer later in the fourth.
"You have games when you take an 0-fer and others where you have four hits," Johnson said. "It's the name of the game. Even though it's the playoffs, I'm not trying to do anything differently. Your mind-set might change slightly, but you still go out and play the same game. I don't want to change anything. I tried to keep the same approach and it worked out."
Gameday box score
After Gwinnett cut the lead to 4-3, Johnson ripped an 0-2 offering off the fence in right-center field for a double that plated Mark Mathias with an insurance run. Navarro added a fourth RBI to his ledger with a two-out single in the eighth and Andrew Velazquez went deep in the ninth.
"It was nice to get it going," Johnson said. "I knew I'd come through eventually. We did a great job as a team getting on base, scoring and getting those clutch hits. It was a really good team win."
It was the type of performance that has become the norm for Johnson, who enjoyed an All-Star caliber season in his first year with the Indians. A fifth-round pick by the Nationals in 2016, the California native burst onto the prospect scene a year later when he batted .298/.356/.505 with a career-high 22 homers and 72 RBIs in 130 games between Class A Hagerstown and Class A Advanced Potomac.
Johnson was traded to Cleveland last November in the deal that sent All-Star catcher Yan Gomes to Washington.
Complete playoff coverage
The Indians assigned the outfielder to Double-A Akron to begin the season. He was promoted to Columbus on May 25 and made an immediate impact, hitting safely in 12 of his first 13 games. Johnson participated in the All-Star Futures Game at Progressive Field in Cleveland and finished the year hitting .306 in 84 games for Columbus. Between Double-A and Triple-A, the New Mexico State product batted .290/.361/.507 and set career bests with 60 extra-base hits, 77 RBIs and 76 runs in 123 games.
Starter Logan Allen (1-0) turned in a solid performance for Columbus. The No. 3 Indians prospect allowed three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Cam Hill and Josh D. Smith combined for 3 2/3 scoreless frames out of the bullpen.
Top Braves prospectCristian Pache had an RBI single and Ryan LaMarre added a solo homer for the Stripers.
Gwinnett starter Ian Anderson worked out of a jam in the first and retired seven straight heading into the fourth before finding trouble. Atlanta's No. 3 prospect was charged with five runs -- four in the fourth -- on six hits and three walks with four punchouts in 5 1/3 frames.
Columbus will go for the sweep as the series shifts to Huntington Park for Game 4 at 7:05 p.m. on Friday.
In other International League action:
Originally scheduled to play Thursday night, Game 2 between Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Durham was postponed due to inclement weather stemming from Hurricane Dorian. The two teams will square off at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Friday at 6:05 p.m.
Michael Avallone is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB.