Vancouver Canadians Dallas McPherson

Vancouver Canadians manager Dallas McPherson argues with home plate umpire Nick McFarland.

C's RecapThe Vancouver Canadians have company atop the Northwest League’s North Division. The Spokane Indians took the opener of their three-game series 4-1 at Nat Bailey Stadium Friday night. Both teams share identical 13-9 records.

Jose Espada needed 38 pitches to get out of the top of the first inning and only 20 were strikes. Starling Joseph led off with a double down the left field corner and Tanner Gardner got aboard on a walk. Espada would strike out Curtis Terry but Francisco Ventura lined a single to left on an 0-2 pitch to bring in Joseph with the game’s first run. The relay throw from shortstop Jesus Severino was in time but Christopher Bec dropped the ball when he tried to apply the tag on Joseph.

Espada’s next pitch was smoked off the right field wall by Kevin Mendoza banged a double to score Gardner and Ventura. The relay throw from second baseman Brandon Polizzi was in plenty of time to get Ventura but Bec would miss the tag. Mendoza would come in to count when Cristian Inoa flared a ball to center field on a broken bat.

Spokane Indians Yerry Rodriguez

Yerry Rodriguez won his second Northwest League start in as many tries for Spokane Friday.

Yerry Rodriguez shut Vancouver down over seven innings with just four hits and one walk allowed. His strikeout and groundball total were six apiece. Vancouver’s only run came in the eighth when Tanner Kirwer connected for his fourth home run of the season over Reggie Meyer. The save went to Sean Chandler as he recorded the final three outs.

Justin Watts, Will McAffer, Denis Diaz, Marcus Reyes and Orlando Pascual teamed up to provide eight shutout innings of relief for Vancouver.

Vancouver Canadians Justin Watts

Justin Watts kept Spokane in check with three shutout innings Friday.

Radar Gun Rundown

radar_gun_iconOne of Espada’s strikeouts was clocked at 90 miles per hour. He was in the low-to-mid 80’s range with his offerings.

Watts registered strikeouts at 90 and 87 MPH. He was as low as 71 and as high as 91 and 92. McAffer had the curveball working with two strikeouts at 75. Diaz had one strikeout at 90. Pascual had one whiff at 83.


C's NotesVancouver skipper Dallas McPherson was not happy with the men in blue. He argued the safe call at home plate that resulted in the third run of the game and kicked dirt on home plate. McPherson also disagreed with a call in the seventh when Polizzi was ruled out by running into the ball out of the batter’s box. Polizzi tried to drop down a bunt up  the first base side.

The Canadians got a lucky bounce on their first hit of the game. Bec hit a ball that caromed off the first base bag and he was able to beat it out to get on base.

Vancouver got the first two runners on in the second when Yorman Rodriguez lined one up  the middle and Jake Brodt walked. McGregory Contreras went down on three pitches before Severino crushed a ball but lined out to left. Polizzi worked the count full before striking out.

Bec ended the top of the third with a nice throw to Severino to nab Inoa trying to steal second. The bottom of the third saw Bec line a double over the head of Joseph in center field with two away but Griffin Conine flied out in front of the manual scoreboard.

The C’s encountered more bad luck in the seventh when Contreras drilled one right at the shortstop before Severino was plunked in the back by Rodriguez. The inning ended on the aforementioned Polizzi bunt.

Vancouver Canadians Tanner Kirwer

Tanner Kirwer homered in the eighth inning to give Vancouver its only run Friday.

Conine put an end to an 0-for-20 drought with a solid base hit to right field that came with two outs in the eighth. He saw his batting average drop 31 points to .245 during the skid.

Vancouver Canadians Jake Brodt

Jake Brodt extended his hitting streak Friday after a 12-day absence.

Brodt began the ninth by ripping one up the middle to start the ninth. That was Brodt’s first action in 12 days after being on the shelf with an injury.  The single extended Brodt’s hitting streak to a dozen games but he was forced out on a Contreras fielder’s choice. Severino hit into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.

Vancouver Canadians McGregory Contreras

McGregory Contreras was forced out at second base in a game-ending double play Friday.

Vancouver had seven hits, one walk and one hit by pitch while striking out six times. There were no hits in four tries with runners in scoring position and seven runners were stranded. Bec had two hits while Brodt also reached twice with a knock and a walk.

Espada was rocked for four runs on four hits and two walks but had two strikeouts. That ended a string in which the Puerto Rican righthander had pitched at least five innings in his previous eight starts. Watts worked the next three frames and yielded just two hits while striking out three.  McAffer also rung up three batters while pitching a one-hitter over two innings. Denis Diaz allowed just one hit and struck out one in the eighth. Pascual worked around an error by Polizzi at second and struck out one in the ninth. The bullpen had an impressive 9-0 strikeout/walk total over eight frames.

The second game of this series is set for 7:05 pm Saturday. Lefthander Randy Pondler (3-4, 3.38) gets the ball for Vancouver against Spokane righthander Scott Engler (2-5, 6.41). Rob Fai will have the play-by-play on and TSN 1040. The Canadians have announced there will be no fireworks at this game to give firefighters one less thing to worry about given the high number of forest fires in the province.























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