A Bryan Lizardo grand slam and eight innings of two-run ball by Justin Maese gave the C’s an 8-3 victory over Tri-City at The Nat. Lizardo homered for the second time in as many days. After clubbing his first in the C’s doubleheader split in Salem-Keizer, his home run was the difference in this one.
The 18 year-old Lizardo also fouled a ball off his leg later in the game and showed his intensity by banging his bat on home plate and cracking it after going down swinging in the seventh so he was not satisfied with only his grand salami. Still, Lizardo’s blast rescued what could have been a wasted first inning. Lance Jones reached base with a one-out walk and was joined on the basepaths by J.B. Woodman and Christian Williams, who singled and was hit by a pitch respectively. Andres Sotillo went down swinging for the second out but Lizardo came through with the two-out grand slam to put the C’s on the road to Victory City.
The two-out heroics continued in the second when it looked like the C’s were not going to be able to build on their 4-0 advantage. Javier Hernandez found the left-center field gap for a leadoff double and got to third on a Rodrigo Orozco sacrifice bunt. Jones laid down another bunt but Tri-City first baseman Chris Mattison made the throw to catcher Kyle Overstreet in time to tag out Hernandez at home. Cavan Biggio extended the inning with a walk and both he and Jones would rumble home on a Woodman double to left field to make it 6-0.
The third inning was the same as the first and second. Sotillo started things off with a double but was still 180 feet away from home with two outs. However, Hernandez kept the inning going with a walk and Orozco scored Sotillo with a base hit. Hernandez would get home safely this time around when Biggio brought him in with another single to give Vancouver a whopping eight runs with two outs. The C’s didn’t do all that much with the bats after that, save for one-out singles by Yeltsin Gudino and Hernandez in the fifth and an Orozco single and Jones hit by pitch in the eighth.
Maese bounced back from the shortest outing of his pro career with his longest. He showed no ill-effects of taking a line drive off his right forearm against Spokane Sunday as he was perfect over 3-2/3 innings before a ground ball single by Chris Baker eluded the reach of Gudino at short. The pride of El Paso, Texas shook off that single by retiring the next 11 hitters in a row. The 11th out in the latest string was a lineout to second and Tri-City continued the hard contact in the form of a line-drive single to left by Boomer White and a two-run home run by Mason Smith. Maese got back on the beam with two ground balls to third to end the inning. The Jays’ third round pick last year had thrown just 83 pitches and appeared to be in position to pitch Vancouver’s first nine-inning complete game since becoming a Single-A affiliate in 2000. Considering his abbreviated start and five full days of rest, Maese looked to have enough gas in the tank to come out for the ninth. However, C’s manager John Tamargo Jr. told Maese he was done after he came off the mound in the eighth. Despite not getting a chance to achieve a franchise first, Maese came through with an ace-like performance against the first-place team in their division coming into this series. His infielders were not bored as he recorded 15 groundouts.
Stuart Holmes was given the task of finishing off the game in the ninth but the lefty struggled by handing out a leadoff walk to Buddy Reed, who took off for second on defensive indifference and scored on a Josh Magee base hit to make it an 8-3 game. Magee also get a free 90 feet of real estate after being ignored by the C’s defence. It was around this point that Gabe Noyalis began warming up in the bullpen. Holmes was rescued by Jones, who made a nice running catch in right field on a ball towards him and made another running catch on a liner to right. Holmes then induced a ground ball to the game’s offensive hero, Lizardo, who started the 5-3 putout to end the game and give Vancouver its first win over Tri-City in 2016.
Radar Gun Rundown
Justin Maese reached 95 miles per hour with his fastball and struck out a couple of batters with a 95 showing on the gun. He also registered a couple of K’s at 91 during his striking out of the side in the third inning. He was clocked in the 84-87 range in the low end and 90-95 at the high end.
Stuart Holmes threw offerings of 80-82 with an 85 and topped out at 91 in the ninth.