McAllister, Clippers win away from title

Head, Goedert go deep again to give Columbus 2-0 series lead

Zach McAllister threw 94 pitches in seven innings for the win. (Joe Santry/Columbus Clippers)

By Danny Wild / MLB.com | September 15, 2010 6:26 PM

A day after the Clippers piled up 18 runs in the International League Championship Series opener, it was the pitching that made the difference.

Zach McAllister held the Bulls to six hits, striking out five, over seven innings as Triple-A Columbus beat Durham, 4-0, on Wednesday for a 2-0 series lead in the best-of-5 Governors' Cup Finals.

"It feels great, I was just excited to go out there," McAllister said. "Being the playoffs, I definitely want to make it quick one, get it done and go on the road with a win."

The right-handed Indians prospect made it look that easy too, throwing 94 pitches -- 62 for strikes -- and did not walk a batter in helping the Clippers move to within a win of their first Governors' Cup since 1996.

"We're definitely excited about it, and it's even more exciting that we were able to get out at a decent time," McAllister said after the two-hour, 18-minute victory. "We definitely want to win. And now just sweep them, that's a great goal. For us, that's definitely possible."

Jerad Head -- who homered and drove in six runs in Tuesday's 18-5 rout -- went deep again, going back-to-back with Jared Goedert in the fourth. The pair lead a Columbus offense that was outhit, 8-7.

"It's been great [having Head in the lineup], Head's been on a fire," said McAllister, who came over to the Clippers in a late-season trade from the Yankees. "From what I hear, in the past, that's how he is in the playoffs all the time, he's a tough out, and I'm definitely glad he's on my side."

Goedert also homered for the second straight game, a solo drive in the fourth. Cord Phelps, who had just eight homers all year, popped a two-out shot in the first that glanced off the Huntington Park scoreboard.

"When [Phelps] hit it, it was a no-doubter," said McAllister. "For me, it was a little boost of confidence, knowing that we got one and now it's time to go to work and put up as many zeros as I can."

Jose Constanza, an All-Star who was fourth in International League with 34 steals, raced home on a double-steal in the fifth for the Clippers' final run.

Zach Putnam worked around a one-out double in the eighth, and Vinnie Pestano sealed the win despite a walk and a single in the ninth. It was the 10th shutout of the year and the second of the playoffs for Columbus.

Durham could have used the help of International League MVP Dan Johnson, who hit 30 homers for the Bulls this summer, but went deep twice for the Rays against the Yankees on Wednesday. Durham has seen many of its top players, including ace Jeremy Hellickson and Jake McGee, promoted to the Majors amidst their run to the championship.

"I was able to use all four of my pitches, but I kind of stuck with my fastball," said McAllister. "I knew if I got in a jam, I'd be able to throw any pitch for a strike. I was sticking with my fastball, if I needed to I could go to that pitch."

J.J. Furmaniak, Leslie Anderson and Craig Albernaz each had two hits for Durham.

Bulls starter Aneury Rodriguez was charged with four runs on six hits and three walks over five frames to suffer his first playoff defeat.

Yohan Pino (10-9, 5.75 ERA) will look to pitch Columbus to the Triple-A National Championship on Thursday when he opposes Durham's Alex Cobb (7-5, 2.71 ERA at Double-A) at 7:05 p.m. ET in Durham. Pino threw seven scoreless innings in the International League semifinals.

Danny Wild is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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