For the first seven innings of the game on Monday, the 51s managed just three hits.
But with one of them came three runs and those three runs wound up being enough for the 51s who beat Iowa 6-1 at Principal Park in Des Moines, Iowa.
Patrick Kivlehan’s blast — his ninth of the year — off starter Alec Mills was the difference maker in the game, giving the 51s (56-58) a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning.
That was all the 51s got off Mills, who also struck out eight batters in his five innings.
“The guy Mills has got a real good arm, good breaking ball. It took us a couple innings for us to figure him out. He was throwing backdoor breaking balls to lefties. He had eight strikeouts,” Las Vegas manager Tony DeFrancesco said. “They actually got some pretty good arms coming out of the bullpen. High velo with good offspeed so first time we’re seeing a lot of these guys. We just didn’t make a lot of adjustments.”
But it wound up being enough — though the 51s did score insurance runs in the eighth inning — for starter Scott Copeland and the bullpen.
Copeland, who was just called up from Double-A Binghamton, gave up just one run to the Cubs (42-71) on five hits in six innings pitched.
“I just liked the way he was in control. He doesn’t look panicked out there. He just kind of gets on the mound,” DeFrancesco said. “He’s aggressive in the zone. Quick delivery. He made a couple nice pitches when he had to. I think he can help us down the stretch here.”
Copeland got himself in a jam in the sixth inning, allowing a double to the first batter and then a walk before getting out of it unscathed.
After him, Ian Krol came on in the seventh and got two outs. Tim Peterson struck out all four batters in his 1 1/3 innings and P.J. Conlon, a starter just coming off the disabled list, tossed a scoreless ninth inning.
The four pitchers limited Iowa to just six hits in the game.
“I thought Copeland did an excellent job today, six innings, one run, got out of a couple jams. Got a 6-4-3 double play to get out of the (sixth) inning. Worked efficient, pounded the zone with strikes, did a nice job,” DeFrancesco said. “I thought the bullpen was solid. Krol got two big outs. Peterson came in for 1 1/3, he got four strikeouts. Good changeup and Conlon after coming off the DL, looked good coming out of the bullpen today, got two strikeouts.”
Las Vegas finished with six hits, too, though a couple of their six were more impactful. Ty Kelly drove in two runs in the eighth inning with a double to give the 51s some breathing room in the win.
Reliever Matt Purke was placed on the disabled list on Monday.
DeFrancesco said he had an issue with his shoulder and was getting checked out by the doctor.