The Vancouver Canadians had a chance to get over the .500 mark for the first time in 2019 but they let one slip away, losing 6-5 to the Eugene Emeralds in 10 innings at Nat Bailey Stadium Tuesday. The loss drops Vancouver to 2-3 on the season, two games back of 4-1 Spokane in the North Division.
Vancouver scored first when Cameron Eden and Tanner Morris began the first inning with singles off Eugene starter Niels Stone. That put them on the corners thanks to a hit-and-run that Morris punched through to right field on a 3-2 pitch. A Trevor Schwecke ground ball was booted by third Em’s third baseman Yonathan Perlaza that allowed Eden to score.
After Will Robertson drew a walk to load the bases, Luis De Los Santos chopped one to short where a throwing error by Luis Vazquez to home allowed Morris to score. Eugene catcher Danny Zardon was unable to hold on to the ball. With runners on second and third, the C’s had a chance to tack on more runs but Stone got McGregory Contreras to fly out to first and struck out Jesus Lopez swinging. Blake Whitney came out of the Eugene bullpen to whiff Brett Wright to strand the two runners.
Vancouver lefty Juan Diaz faced the minimum through three innings, getting an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play when De Los Santos leaped to snare a chopper at third to start a twin killing to end the first. However, the defence betrayed Diaz in the fourth when Morris misfired on a throw from second base to allow leadoff Edmond Americaan to reach base. A Vazquez double put runners at second and third and Morris was charged with another error on a ground ball by Perlaza. The former Virginia Cavalier tried to shovel the ball with his glove to first base but had trouble getting it out in time. That allowed to Perlaza beat the throw and Americaan to score the Emeralds its first run.
Diaz then uncorked a wild pitch to allow Vazquez to score the second Eugene run. The Dominican lefty would induce three groundball outs to get out of the inning but a Caleb Knight grounder in between allowed Perlaza to cross home plate to give Eugene a 3-2 lead.
The Canadians evened the score in the fifth when Will Robertson poked an opposite-field single to left off Chris Allen with one out and he would score on a De Los Santos double. However, De Los Santos took too wide a turn at second and was tagged out. Contreras followed with a single but that was all for the C’s in that inning.
Diaz kept the Em’s in check in the fifth and sixth innings, allowing just a bunt single by Fernando Kelli that was erased on a 6-3 double play in the fifth.
Juan Nunez replaced Diaz to start the seventh and gave up two singles that moved up 90 feet on a Lopez passed ball. Nunez would get out of it when Schwecke ran down a broken-bat pop up to short from Brandon Vicens after the infield came in. De Los Santos cut down a runner at the plate from third as Jake Slaughter was tagged out by Lopez. Reivaj Garcia flied out to end the threat.
The bottom of the seventh saw Schwecke and Robertson single off Fauris Guerrero to put runners at first and third but a De Los Santos fly ball to center was too shallow. Contreras walked to load the bases but Lopez flied out into an 8-2 double play as Kelli’s throw from center was on the mark to get Schwecke at the plate.
Eugene got a runner to third to begin the eighth when Zardon doubled off Nunez and moved to third on a wild pitch. Nunez kept Zardon at third by handling a grounder back to the mound by Americaan. Dalton Hurd was inserted into the game as a pinch-runner but it ultimately didn’t matter. After a walk to Vazquez, Nunez escaped trouble again by striking out Perlaza and getting Slaughter to ground out to third.
The C’s regained the lead when Brett Wright started the home half of the eighth with a double off Ivan Medina. Adrian Ramos-celebrating his 21st birthday-came in to pinch-run for Wright. Eden got aboard on a one-out walk and Morris pulled a double to left to plate Ramos with the go-ahead run. With Eden at third, the C’s could not bring him home as Schwecke and Robertson went down swinging.
The Emeralds would tie the game in the ninth when Knight singled off Gage Burland and after stealing second, would score on a Kelli triple to right. Kelli would be cut down at the plate when Schwecke handled a grounder at short from Garcia and made the throw to Lopez to keep the game tied at 4-4. Burland would strike out Jonathan Soto to send the game to the bottom of the ninth.
Vancouver should have had a base runner aboard in the ninth when Contreras got to first after the throw from Vazquez at short pulled Slaughter off the bag at first. However, base umpire Guillermo Rodriguez did not see it that way and called Contreras out. C’s manager Casey Candaele came out to argue and was tossed from the game.
Burland was back out for the 10th inning and had Soto to deal with on second base due to the extra innings rule implemented by MiLB. Americaan laid down a bunt single to third and moved to second after a Vazquez grounder to first. Perlaza was walked intentionally to load the bases before Slaughter delivered a two-run single to put Eugene ahead 6-4. Perlaza also tried to score but was tagged out on a 9-2-4-2 putout.
With Lopez at second base to begin the 10th, Yorman Rodriguez – who replaced Wright at first base – grounded a single up the middle off Carlos Vega to pull the C’s to within a run. Dominic Abbadessa walked to put two runners aboard. Ronny Brito pinch-ran for Rodriguez with the top of the order due up but they could not come through. Eden struck out, Morris hit into a fielder’s choice and Schwecke grounded out to the mound to leave the potential tying and winning runs stranded on the corners.
Radar Gun Rundown
Diaz had strikeouts of 90, 80 and 85 miles per hour. He had offerings that clocked in at 68, 72, 74, 76, 83, 85, 87, 88 and 89. Nunez was up to 92 and 98. Burland had strikeouts of 95 and 76.
From Monday, Gabriel Ponce had strikeouts of 82 and 76 MPH looking. Randy Pondler had a K at 82 and was up to 92-93. Andy McGuire had a strikeout at 80 and was clocked at 85, 90 and 92. Josh Almonte had a punchout at 82.
Vancouver hitters were just 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position. The second inning a two-out single by Morris and a walk to Schwecke that was wasted. The sixth saw an Abbadessa walk and stolen base go for naught.
A crowd of 6,116 took in the game Tuesday with 529 dogs on Bark in the Park night.
The series continues Wednesday in another 7:05 pm start at Nat Bailey Stadium. Former Toronto Blue Jay Willie Upshaw will be at the game to sign autographs down on the concourse on the first base side. The first 2,000 fans through the gates will get a Willie Upshaw baseball card.
Nick Fraze—Toronto’s 22nd round pick from Texas State from this months MLB draft—will get the start for Vancouver against Eugene’s Eduarniel Nunez. Rob Fai has the call on Sportsnet 650 The Fan and CanadiansBaseball.com.
Ben Steiner has created a brand new podcast called the C’s Plus Podcast featuring myself where we talked about the latest about the C’s and some Blue Jays talk as well. Ben is heading to Ryerson University in Toronto for the Sport Media program this fall and contributes to Jays Journal, The Canuck Way and Chesterfield Sports. You can follow Ben @BenSteiner00. Please give it a listen. You can also find the link of the sidebar.