Otto Lopez hit a tie-breaking home run in the fifth inning for Vancouver Tuesday.
The Vancouver Canadians got back on track as they dumped the Tri-City Dust Devils 5-2 at Nat Bailey Stadium Wednesday night. The C’s got more good news on the out-of-town scoreboard as Everett knocked off Spokane. That gives Vancouver a two-game lead over the AquaSox and Indians for first place in the North Division.
Tri-City Dust Devils play-by-play announcer Chris King says he has heard a lot of How To Get Away With Murder jokes when Sam Keating has been on the mound this season. Well, this story will add a few more logs to that fire. For those not familiar with the ABC TV series, Sam Keating was a character played by actor Tom Verica in season one.
On the diamond, Keating is a 19 year-old righthander who was a fourth round pick of the San Diego Padres in the 2017 draft. He was able to get away from a couple of sticky situations in the first two innings. Tanner Kirwer reached on a fielder’s choice and Yorman Rodriguez singled with one out. Despite a double steal, Keating struck out Griffin Conine and Christopher Bec to escape that jam. The second inning saw McGregory Contreras double with one out and he tried to score on a Nick Podkul single to center but he was thrown out at the plate. Keating plunked Brett Wright with a pitch before striking out Otto Lopez to strand two more runners.
Joey Murray pumps his first after completing two scoreless innings against Tri-City Wednesday.
Joey Murray had a couple of obstacles to deal with in his two-inning stint. He sandwiched a Grant Little single and stolen base by striking out Xavier Edwards and Dwanya Williams-Sutton to end the first. The second inning saw Murray strike out the side swinging by whiffing Blake Hunt, Luis Ascunsion and Luke Becker to strand Justin Paulsen at second after a walk and a wild pitch.
Sean Wymer won his fourth game of the year after pitching three innings Wednesday.
Tri-City would break the scoreless tie in the third against Sean Wymer. Edwards reached on a fielder’s choice and swiped second and Little walked before Tucupita Marcano smashed a ground ball that Rodriguez could not handle at first. Marcano was credited with a base hit that resulted in Edwards coming in to score and Little and Marcano both advancing into scoring position on the throw to the plate. A Williams-Sutton sacrifice fly to right brought in Little with the Dust Devils second run.
Jesus Severino celebrates a run-scoring double that produced Vancouver’s first run Wednesday.
Keating retired the side in order in the third but he would not get away clean in the fourth. Bec began the frame with a base hit, stole second and scored on a Jesus Severino double to get Vancouver on the board. Contreras then blooped a single just out of the reach of Paulsen at first to score Severino with the tying run.
Tanner Kirwer connected for his third home run of the season Wednesday.
Keating was then burned by back-to-back home runs by Lopez and Kirwer as Lopez dropped one into the C’s bullpen in left field before Kirwer found the seats in the home run porch in left to give Vancouver a 4-2 advantage.
Vancouver would add one more tally in the sixth when Contreras singled, swiped second and came in to score when Lopez greeted Dust Devils reliever Gabe Mosser with a single to left.
Troy Miller kept Tri-City off the board in the sixth and seventh innings Wednesday.
The bullpens shut things down the rest of the way with Wen-Hua Sung tossing a scoreless eighth. Troy Miller worked two shutout frames while Joey Pulido and Cobi Johnson contributed their own goose eggs to finish off the victory for Vancouver.
Joey Pulido worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning for Vancouver Wednesday night.
Radar Gun Rundown
Murray was around 71 to 89 miles per hour during his two-inning stint.
Wymer had pitches as low as 77 and as high as 93. He did hit 95 on his final pitcher. Miller and Johnson were both at 92 while Pulido had offerings at 85, 92 and 95.
Podkul helped Wymer out with two big defensive plays at second in the fifth inning. Edwards got aboard on a leadoff bunt single and took off from first with Little at the plate. Podkul was on his way to cover the bag before ranging over to his left just in time to catch Little’s liner to send Edwards back to first. Edwards would steal second and get to third after a Wright throwing error behind the dish. Kirwer unleashed a strong throw from right field to nearly get Edwards at third. However, Podkul would get Edwards at home as he handled a ground ball from Marcano and threw it to Wright who applied the tag at the plate.
Podkul also started a slick 4-6-3 double play of the bat of Luke Becker to help Miller escape a first-and-second jam in the sixth when Blake Hunt walked and Luis Ascunsion beat out a single at third despite a valiant effort from Lopez.
Lopez also had a defensive gem to help out Miller in the seventh. Little walked and Marcano laid down a bunt single as part of a two-out uprising before Lopez made a diving stop to his left on a Williams-Sutton ground ball and threw it over to second to force Little for the third out.
Vancouver had 13 hits, a walk and two hit by pitches and only struck out five times. They had four hits in nine tries with runners at second and/or third with eight men left on base.
McGregory Contreras increased his batting average by 18 points to .274 with a four-hit effort Wednesday.
Contreras had a perfect day at the dish by going 4-for-4 with a double, a run batted in and a stolen base. Lopez had a hit and a walk to go with his third homer of the year while Wright doubled and took two for the team. Bec had the other multi-hit game by going 2-for-4 with a stolen base. Also stealing bases were Rodriguez and Kirwer. That swipe by Kirwer leaves him one back of Eugene’s Fernando Kelli and his 27 steals. Eight C’s recorded hits in this one with only Conine shut out in that department.
Murray struck out five over two innings to help work around a hit and a walk over the first two frames. Wymer was charged with two runs with four hits and a walk and struck out one to improve to 4-2 on the year. Miller scattered two hits and two walks and struck out one in his two innings of work. Pulido struck out one in a perfect eighth while Johnson worked around a hit and a walk with one punchout in the ninth for his ninth save in as many opportunities.
Orlando Pascual has rejoined the Canadians after being sent down from Lansing. The 2017 Northwest League All-Star righthanded reliever began the year with the C’s before getting called up to Lansing July 2. Pascual was 0-2 with a 4.57 earned run average with the Lugnuts. The 22 year-old Dominican struck out 21 batters in 21-2/3 innings but walked 16 and plunked two more. Pascual is now wearing #21 after wearing #18 to begin the year with Vancouver. This is his third different number over two seasons with the C’s after wearing #8 to begin 2017.
Catcher/outfielder Reilly Johnson also has a new uniform number upon his return from Lansing. The 21 year-old wore #26 to begin the year with Vancouver before he was called up to Lansing in late June. Johnson is now wearing #36.
Yorman Rodriguez has also switched uniform numbers. He was wearing #34 but has now taken #13 which was worn by shortstop Vinny Capra until his recent promotion to Lansing. Rodriguez has worn three different numbers during his time with the C’s after wearing #35 last year.
The series finale between the C’s and T-C goes Thursday afternoon at Nat Bailey Stadium. The game can be heard on CanadiansBaseball.com and BNN Bloomberg Radio 1410. Pre-game show is at 12:00 and Rob Fai will call the action beginning with a 1:05 pm first pitch. Lefthander Nick Allgeyer (0-0, 2.61) gets the start for Vancouver against Tri-City lefty Omar Cruz (1-0, 0.52).
— Vancouver Canadians (@vancanadians) August 16, 2018
CANADIANS: One of most enjoyable interviews I have ever found myself in & it came out of nowhere… Padres exec Tony Tarasco was perfect example of listening to guest & following his lead. He brought out the best in my game. https://t.co/C6bF3FQclK
— Rob Fai (@RobFaiNation) August 16, 2018
FINAL | Canadians WIN tonight! #AtTheNat
Mug was Slugged ✔️
Back-to-back Homeruns ✔️
4th win for Wymer✔️
9th save for Johnson ✔️
26th stolen base for Kirwer ✔️
27th RBI for Contreras ✔️
— Vancouver Canadians (@vancanadians) August 16, 2018
— CsPlusBaseball.ca (@csplusbaseball) August 16, 2018
AUG 27 – Throwback Jersey Night
🕕 7:05PM First Pitch
🆚 Boise Hawks
📍Scotiabank Field pic.twitter.com/TCxWwZcYmx
— Vancouver Canadians (@vancanadians) August 15, 2018
— Ryan DiFrancesco (@RyanDifrancesco) August 15, 2018
This may not be news to those that know him but #Padres 1st rounder Xavier Edwards is RAPID! Steals 2nd and takes 3rd on overthrow despite very strong throw from #Vancanadians centrefielder Tanner Kirwer #MiLB
— Charlie Caskey (@CharlieCaskey) August 16, 2018