Matt Morgan homered, drove in two runs and caught two runners stealing Thursday.
The Vancouver Canadians got back in the win column for the first time in six days as they began an eight-game road trip with an 8-3 victory over the Salem Keizer Volcanoes at Volcanoes Stadium Thursday night. The victory guarantees the C’s of at least a .500 finish in the first half as they improved to 19-16. They maintain their one-game lead in the North after Tri-City got by Eugene in extra innings on a walk-off wild pitch.
Canadians scoring woes continued in the first when Kevin Vicuna was picked off at first after a one-out single. Logan Warmoth walked and Kacy Clemens followed with a single but Brock Lundquist made the third out with a fly ball to right.
Jose Espada recorded two shutout innings in his start against Salem-Keizer.
Jose Espada got the start and set down the Volcanoes in order in the first, retiring Orlando Garcia on an inning-ending strikeout. Vancouver did nothing with their second at-bat while Espada held Salem-Keizer to a two-out base hit by Robinson Medrano.
The C’s tried again to break out on top in the third on a two-out rally that saw them load the bases on a Vicuna single and a couple of walks from Warmoth and Clemens but Lundquist flied out again for the inning-ending out.
Zach Logue notched his first Northwest League victory with three shutout innings in Salem-Keizer Thursday.
Lefthander Zach Logue took over for Espada in the third and the former Kentucky Wildcat punctuated a 1-2-3 inning with strikeouts of A.J. Ramirez and Malique Ziegler.
Vancouver finally grabbed a lead for the first time in six days when Bryan Lizardo tripled with one out and scored on a double by Matt Morgan off Salem-Keizer starter Julio Benitez. That was especially huge when Brandon Polizzi lined out to second before Morgan came through.
Logue got the C’s offence back in the batter’s box with another perfect frame in the fourth. Vicuna would start the fifth with a single but after a one-out pitching change that saw Alex Bostic enter the game, Vicuna was thrown out trying to steal second by Volcanoes catcher Dylan Manwaring to effectively end that threat.
Logue struck out Juan Rodriguez and Medrano to begin the fifth but ran into his first trouble spot when Gustavo Cabrera singled and Manwaring walked. Morgan would take care of Cabrera by throwing him out trying to steal third.
Some insurance came in the sixth when Lundquist was grazed with a pitch from Bostic and one out later, Lundquist was credited with stealing second and managed to score when missed a throw at first base, allowing Lundquist to score the C’s second run.
Lundquist was replaced by Norberto Obeso in the outfield to start the bottom of the sixth and Justin Dillon replaced Logue on the mound. Dillon walked Ziegler with one out but was erased by Morgan who gunned him down at second. Though Bryce Johnson singled with two out, Dillon struck out Garcia to get out of the inning.
Kevin Vicuna had three hits, a walk and a stolen base Thursday evening.
Tyler Schimpf took the pitching reins for Salem-Keizer in the seventh and walked Reggie Pruitt and Vicuna after a nine-pitch battle. Pruitt had stolen second before Vicuna’s free pass and stole it so easily that Pruitt had enough time to “pour himself a cup of coffee” according to play-by-play man Rob Fai. After Warmoth popped out to third, Pruitt and Vicuna executed a double steal before Pruitt scored on a passed ball. Clemens would draw a walk and Obeso would single home Vicuna to make it 4-0 Vancouver. Obeso would steal second and he would cross the plate with the C’s fifth run after Lizardo reached on a throwing error at third by Ramirez. John Timmins was summoned from the bullpen to get the third out.
Dillon kept Salem-Keizer from scoring again in the seventh by whiffing Manuel Gerado and Medrano to sandwich a Ramirez flyout. Morgan added to the lead in the eighth with his second home run of the season. Vicuna reached base for the fifth time on the night on a fielder’s choice and moved up to second on a wild pitch. Singles by Warmoth and Clemens got Vicuna all the way home to put the extra point on top of the touchdown. Cullen Large would draw a walk to load the bases but the C’s could not add any more runs on the board.
William Ouellette worked the bottom of the eighth for Vancouver and committed an error at first when he could not locate the bag with his foot as Clemens tried to complete a 3-1 putout on Cabrera. Ouellette would shake that off by getting the next three hitters in order.
Polizzi worked a walk against Luis Pino to begin the ninth and got to second on a Morgan groundout and to third on a Pruitt base hit. Polizzi would score on Vicuna’s sharp RBI grounder to first to boost the C’s lead 8-0.
Bobby Eveld gave up a trio of runs on an RBI single by Medrano and a two-run knock by Cabrera but he got the final three outs to help Vancouver get back in the win column.
Vicuna had three hits to lead the hit parade while Clemens, Lizardo and Morgan had two each. Should the C’s manage to win the first-half North Division title, one could argue Morgan has had the two biggest hits of the season to date. His first homer of the year helped Vancouver tie Eugene at 8-8 with an eighth inning home run in an eventual 9-8 victory that helped lead the C’s on a five-game winning streak. The Thorsby, Alabama native’s double in the fourth Thursday gave Vancouver its first lead in six games to open the scoring and resuscitate the C’s playoff drive.
Pruitt had a hit, two walks and two stolen bases to give him 15 on the year. Vicuna swiped his 11th, Lundquist his fourth and Obeso his first. Vancouver left 13 men on but was 5-for-17 with runners in scoring position.
2014-2015 C’s lefthander Ryan Borucki has been promoted to Double-A New Hampshire. He was 6-5 with a 3.58 ERA, striking out 109 batters in 98 innings with Dunedin.
The Dunedin Blue Jays tweeted out a nice picture of 2016 C’s infielder Cavan Biggio along with Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as a progeny trio of their famous fathers.
Biggio, Guerrero, Bichette: The Sequel. pic.twitter.com/3BNiI2r2Fm
— Dunedin Blue Jays (@DunedinBlueJays) July 20, 2017
2015 C’s pitcher Josh DeGraaf improved to 4-0 with six innings of one-run ball, Zach Jackson (2016) had the two-inning hold and Jackson McClelland (2015-2016) got the save in the ninth as Dunedin got by Clearwater. D.J. Davis (2012) went 2-for-3 with his 22nd stolen base.
Rodrigo Orozco (2015-2016) continues to tear it up for Lansing as he went 3-for-4 with a walk and two RBI to lift Lansing to a victory over Quad Cities.
Lansing broadcaster Jesse Goldberg-Strassler had this tweet on how hot Orozco has been.
It’s now 13 times aboard in his last 15 plate appearances: 7 singles, 3 doubles, 3 walks. Outstanding. https://t.co/9f8bxAqWBb
— Jesse G-S (@jgoldstrass) July 21, 2017
Orozco is on a seven-game hitting streak and is now hitting .303 on the season, a 47-point jump over the past four days.
He is also doing it with the glove.
.@BlueJays LF @alex0204orozco ends the game in style with this diving catch into the bullpen for @LansingLugnuts. https://t.co/ldmId8Hfja
— MiLB.com (@MiLB) July 21, 2017
Also for the Lugnuts, Mattingly Romanin (2016-2017) had a hit and a walk and Nick Sinay (2016)—you’ll never believe this—was hit by a couple of pitches. Nick Hartman (2016) earned the save.
Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer, Oregon. (Image courtesy of @RobFaiNation)
Juan Nunez is expected to get the start Friday evening in Game 2 of this five-game set. Broadcast time on CanadiansBaseball.com is set for 6:35 pm.