The losing streak for the Vancouver Canadians is up to seven after an 8-2 loss to the Spokane Indians in the opener of their three game series at Nat Bailey Stadium Friday.
Two first inning errors set the tone for this one. Vancouver starter William Gaston struck out three of the first four batters he faced in the first inning but a throwing error by shortstop Ronny Brito on a routine ground ball allowed Kellen Strahm to reach base with one out. Gaston had the side struck out but a throwing miscue by Ryan Sloniger allowed Luis Ascunsion to reach first and and Strahm to get to third. Strahm would come in to score on a Gaston wild pitch.
Spokane would strike for three more runs in the second when a Stanley Martinez groundout was bobbled by Brito and that cashed in a Cristian Inoa leadoff walk. An RBI single by Strahm scored a David Garcia double. Gaston struck out Tanner Gardner but that was surrounded by walks to Jake Hoover and Obie Ricumstrict to load the bases. Lefthander Nicolas Medina was summoned from the C’s bullpen but he committed a balk that brought in Hoover to make it 4-0 Spokane.
After a clean third inning by Medina in which he struck out a pair, a single by Martinez and a bunt single by Hoover to the mound put Spokane in business to start the fourth. Yorman Rodriguez made a nice play to range to his right at first base on a grounder by Gardner to force Hoover at second but the C’s were unable to complete a 3-6-3 double play. Gardner would swipe second base to put two runners in scoring position.
A sacrifice fly by Strahm scored Martinez but the C’s appeared to have a shot at Martinez when Contreras reared back from right field to make the throw. Instead, the throw was cut off by Rodriguez at first and Martinez was able to cross home plate. More salt was rubbed in the C’s wounds when a second another balk by Medina brought in Gardner to make it 6-0 for the visitors.
The Canadians finally got their first hit of the game with one out in the sixth against Spokane reliever Triston Polley. Luis De Los Santos was able to get aboard on an infield single to third. Rodriguez lined one up the middle and Will Robertson reached base when Hoover mishandled a grounder at second. McGregory Contreras struck out and Polley got ahead of Sloniger at 0-2 before the Penn State catcher pulled one to right field to score De Los Santos and Rodriguez. The rally ended on a strikeout by Brito.
Spokane answered those two Vancouver runs with two runs of their own in the seventh. Luke Gillingham gave up a two-out, two-run home run by Luis Ascunsion to left field that scored a walk by Strahm.
Parker Caracci‘s first pro appearance on Canadian soil was a success. The former Ole Miss Rebel pitched two shutout innings with just one hit and one walk allowed, striking out two.
Radar Gun Rundown
Gaston was up to 95 miles per hour and clocked in from 90-94 and had offspeed offerings of 77, 82, 85 and 87. Medina recorded strikeouts at 87, 90 (looking) and 79. He was also at 77, 88 and 89. Gillingham had called strikeouts of 73 and 86. He was at 71 on the low end and up to 83-85. Caracci struck out a batter at 79 and was at 89-91. His last pitch was at 92 that sawed off the bat of Ascunsion.
Robertson was the victim of a nice defensive play but made one himself in left field. The former Creighton Bluejay was robbed of a hit by Hoover at second with a diving stab and retired on a 4-3 defensive play. In the fifth, Robertson made a nice diving catch in left field on a sinking liner by Inoa and threw to first to double off Ascunsion to end the inning.
Spokane starter Ricky Vanasco was pulled from the game despite no-hitting the C’s over 4-2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out four. Polley got the win instead with two unearned runs on his line. Daniel Robert and Scott Williams finished up with scoreless relief over the final three frames.
Vancouver got its first two runners on base in the second inning with two-out walks by Sloniger and Brito but Davis Schneider grounded into a fielder’s choice.
Cameron Eden was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. Trevor Schwecke took over at third for Eden.
Rodriguez was hit by a pitch from Robert in the eighth that shook him up. He did remain in the game. A Contreras single and a Sloniger infield knock that remained fair down the third base line loaded the bases. Despite the fans chanting “Ronny!”, Brito was called out on strikes to leave the bases full.
The Canadians continue their series with Spokane with another 7:05 pm start at Nat Bailey Stadium. Gabriel Ponce is the probable starter for Vancouver. Teodoro Ortega is listed as the first hurler for Spokane. The game can be seen on Sportsnet with Rob Fai, Ricky Romero and Caroline Frolic.
Congratulations goes to 2017 Vancouver Canadians pitcher Nate Pearson for his selection to the Futures Game that will be played in Cleveland next month. ‘Big Nate’ has an ERA of 1.89 this season with Dunedin and New Hampshire and has struck out 66 batters with just eight walks over 47-1/3 innings.