Image courtesy of @VanCanadians.
The Vancouver Canadians have a long bus ride back from Oregon but it will be made easier by the fact they won their first series of the season. The C’s wrapped up the five-game set with a 6-3 victory against the defending Northwest League champions at PK Park Monday.
Dany Jimenez retired 15 of 16 hitters over five innings but the one mistake he made was a solo home run off the bat of Zach Davis. That snapped a string of eight men retired in a row. Jimenez then responded by sitting down the next seven batters he faced to end his outing. He struck out five while his infielders converted six of his seven outs in play.
Norberto Obeso made sure Jimenez would not get tagged for the loss as he clubbed his first Northwest League home run by pulling a ball over the right field fence in the top of the fifth against Matt Swarmer, who only gave up a Deiferson Barreto base hit and a Yorman Rodriguez walk over his five-inning outing.
Vancouver had a bead on getting a lead in the sixth when Lance Jones made it to second on a two-out balk by Andin Diaz after forcing out Chavez Young who got aboard on a single. Instead, Rodriguez grounded out to second to end the inning.
Lefty Miguel Burgos entered the game in the bottom of the sixth and struck out the first man he faced before giving up a single and a double to put runners at second and third. He managed to induce a tapper back to the mound and he flipped the ball to catcher Javier Hernandez (who was assigned back to the team from Lansing) to get the runner coming in from third. With runners at the corners, Burgos committed a balk to give up the go-ahead run. He would get out of the inning with a ground ball to third.
P.K. Park in Eugene. Photo courtesy of CanadiansBaseball.com.
Hernandez led off the seventh and managed to reach base on a wild pitch by Andin after swinging and missing for strike three. Mattingly Romanin came in to pinch-run but he was erased on a Bryan Lizardo fielder’s choice. Obeso would get aboard on an error by Diaz who airmailed a throw from the mound to second base in an attempt to start an inning-ending double play. Lizardo rounded the second base bag a little too aggressively and was nearly picked off on the throw from the center fielder. Lizardo tried to get up and run to third but collided with one of the infielders before deciding to head back to second.
Diaz got the second out of the inning with a strikeout of Francisco Rodriguez but an error by Emeralds second baseman Edgar Rondon saw Lizardo scamper home with the tying run. The C’s then released the kraken with three hits leading to four runs, starting with Kevin Vicuna‘s base hit to right field to score Obeso with the go-ahead run. Young followed with a double to right field down the line to plate Barreto and Vicuna before Jones doubled to right to bring in Young.
Burgos came back out for the seventh and gave up a leadoff single before getting a 6-4-3 double play ball. Vicuna ranged well to his left and was near the second base bag before flipping it to Barreto to second to start the twin-killing. It was an inning of redemption for Vicuna after a three-error game Saturday. That double play was huge as Burgos served up a solo homer to Kwang-Min Kwon to cut Vancouver’s lead to three.
After Burgos finished up the seventh, William Ouellette took over in the eighth and whiffed the first two men he faced. However, he made things interesting by yielding a single and a walk and uncorking a wild pitch to bring the tying run to the dish. That threat was snuffed out on a flyout to center fielder Reggie Pruitt, who entered the game defensively to start the eighth.
Ouellette came back out for the ninth and gave up a single to Gustavo Polanco while uncorking two wild pitches to move Polanco to third. Ouellette would end the game on a fly ball to Jones in right to seal the deal for the C’s.
Young had the only two-hit game for Vancouver, who were outhit 7-6 but the C’s came up with three consecutive hits with runners in scoring position after going 0-for-4.
Vancouver heads home with a 3-2 record in the Northwest League North Division, leaving them one game behind the 4-1 Tri-City Dust Devils. Up next for the C’s are the 2-3 Everett AquaSox for the first of three games at Nat Bailey Stadium. The home opener and the second game are set for 7:05 pm Tuesday and Wednesday with the series finale at 1:05 Thursday afternoon.
Tuesday’s game can be heard on TSN 1040 and seen on Shaw TV in Vancouver.
Javier Hernandez— the Ossie Chavarria Fans Choice Award winner of 2016 – wore number 20 last season but those digits now belong to Miguel Burgos. Hernandez is now wearing number 29. He had a Northwest League-best 55 assists from the catcher’s position last year.
The catching situation is about to get more crowded. Hernandez, Matt Morgan and Owen Spiwak will be joined by Riley Adams, a catcher from the University of San Diego and the Blue Jays’ third-round pick of the 2017 draft. You can get the low down on Adams here. Yorman Rodriguez was also listed as a catcher on the Opening Day roster but has now been moved to the infield section of the team’s roster.
The infield population will increase by one with the arrival of first baseman Kacy Clemens to YVR. The son of Roger was taken in the eighth round of the draft out of the University of Texas. Shi Davidi has a story on the younger Clemens right here.