Des Moines, Iowa - The Oklahoma City Dodgers were held to a season-low four hits while the Iowa Cubs consistently capitalized on their scoring opportunities, as the I-Cubs bested the Dodgers, 4-3, Sunday afternoon at Principal Park.
Situational hitting was the key difference in Sunday's game. The Dodgers went 2-for-16 with runners on base, 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded five runners in scoring position. The I-Cubs, by contrast, went 3-for-5 with runners in scoring position and only left three runners on base total.
The Dodgers (4-6) missed out on a prime chance to score in the second inning, foreshadowing how the rest of the day would unfold. Each of the first three batters drew walks to load the bases, but each of the next three hitters struck out. For OKC, it already marked the third time in 10 games this season the team did not score after loading the bases with none out, and the team is now 0-for-12 with no RBI with the bases full.
Iowa (7-3) took the game's first lead in the bottom of the third inning. Wynton Bernard led off with a triple to right field, and Francisco Arcia followed with a RBI single.
Kyle Garlick pulled the Dodgers into a tie when he connected on an opposite field home run to right-center field leading off the fourth inning.
But the I-Cubs answered with a home run of their own in the bottom of the frame. On the first pitch of the inning, Trent Giambrone hit his second home run in as many games, putting Iowa ahead, 2-1.
Iowa added to the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, with a RBI double by Jim Adduci. The I-Cubs proceeded to load the bases with one out, but OKC reliever Josh Smoker got Arcia to bound into an inning-ending double play.
The Dodgers got back within one when Garlick picked up a RBI single with two outs in the eighth inning. It turned out to be the team's first and only hit with a runner in scoring position. Garlick went 2-for-3 with two RBI Sunday, but the rest of the team combined to go 2-for-27 with one RBI.
Iowa responded in the bottom of the frame with a RBI single with two outs by Phillip Evans, putting the Dodgers down by a pair of runs.
The Dodgers rallied and put the pressure on in the top of the ninth inning. After a double by Errol Robinson, the Dodgers had the tying runs both in scoring position with one out. Drew Jackson came up next and narrowed the gap to one run on a RBI groundout, also advancing the tying run to third base.
Representing the Dodgers' last chance, Daniel Castro hit a high pop up in between the pitching mound and the third base line. Evans made the catch and collided with Arcia, eventually landing on top of the Arcia as both hit the ground. But Evans was able to hang on to the ball to secure the final out.
It marked the second straight game the contest ended with the Dodgers leaving the tying run at third base.
The Iowa bullpen had to cover 7.1 innings Sunday after starting pitcher Trevor Clifton was lifted in the second inning due to a high pitch count. Alberto Baldonado (1-0) was the first of four relievers used by the I-Cubs and took the win after allowing one run and one hit over 2.1 innings. The lefty had two walks and two strikeouts.
Dakota Mekkes recorded the final four outs to earn his second save of the season.
Dodgers starting pitcher Ben Holmes bounced back from a bumpy Triple-A debut with five solid innings, although he ended up with the loss. He allowed two runs and three hits, with no walks and five strikeouts. Holmes (0-1) retired 14 of 17 batters faced overall, including the first six straight and final six straight.
The Dodgers and I-Cubs finish their series with a Monday matinee beginning at 12:08 p.m. Live radio coverage of each game begins 15 minutes before first pitch on AM 1340 "The Game," 1340thegame.com and through the free iHeartRadio or MiLB First Pitch apps.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.