It’s fitting the Vancouver Canadians had their best game of the season on a milestone night for play-by-play man Rob Fai. The C’s blanked the Tri-City Dust Devils 4-0 at Nat Bailey Stadium Tuesday to mark the 1,000th broadcast of Fai’s illustrious career that began in 2007.
The Canadians and Dust Devils traded zeroes on the linescore over the first four-and-a-half innings before Tri-City blinked first. McGregory Contreras doubled off Ignacio Feliz for the C’s first hit as he drove it to the wall in left-centre in front of the manual scoreboard to begin the bottom of the fifth. Contreras was then advanced to third on a Dom Abbadessa ground ball to the right side of the infield. Ronny Brito struck out after an eight-pitch at bat for the second out. That left it up to Adrian Ramos and the number nine hitter in the Vancouver order delivered with a two-run home run that cleared the shorter portion of the left-center field fence.
Vancouver tacked on two more runs in the eighth. Will Robertson doubled down the left field corner with one away off Deacon Medders and Contreras was drilled by a pitch afterwards. Abbadessa took Medders into his own hands by doubling to right field to bring home Robertson and Contreras, who blew through the stop sign of third base coach Danny Canellas to score the final run.
Luis Quinones and William Gaston pitched four shutout innings apiece with Gaston getting his first Northwest League win. Parker Caracci completed the shutout with a scoreless ninth.
Radar Gun Rundown
Quinones was at 77, 79-83, 86, 89, 90-92, 94 and 97 miles per hour with strikeouts at 79, 93, 80, 83, 80 and 92. Gaston was 77, 78, 80, 81, 84, 86, 87, 88 and 89, 90, 92-95 with strikeouts of 82 and 92. Caracci was at 79, 82 and 90-92.
Quinones gave up just one hit over four innings, stranding a two-out double in the first by Sean Guilbe. He struck out two in the first inning—bouncing back from a 3-0 count to get Alarcon for out number two—and whiffed two more in a 1-2-3 second. In between those two K’s was a nice catch by Will Robertson on a sinking line drive in right field.
After two more strikeouts to begin the third, Quinones wobbled a bit by walking Reinaldo Ilarraza and Kelvin Alarcon heard ball four after Ilarraza stole second. The right-hander from San Jacinto Junior College got Guilbe to ground out to short to end the frame. He then recorded three straight groundouts on eight pitches in the fourth to end his outing.
Gaston gave up a single to the first man he faced in Jonny Homza and issued a one-out walk to Tre Carter but a 4-6-3 double play got Gaston out of trouble as second baseman Luis De Los Santos started the play with a backhand flip to Trevor Schwecke at short before throwing it on to Yorman Rodriguez at first. Another inning-ending twin-killing bailed out Gaston in the sixth after Alarcon walked with one out and swiped second before Jason Pineda joined him on the basepaths with a base on balls. Alarcon spiked De Los Santos at second on the leg but De Los Santos was able to remain in the game.
Philip Clarke got a break during his sixth-inning plate appearance. He lifted a foul pop up on the third base side that was dropped by Carlos Luis. That error allowed Clarke to eventually draw a walk. Wen-Hua Sung bailed out Luis by relieving Feliz and getting Abbadessa to strike out, stranding a pair of walks to Clarke and Contreras.
The seventh inning saw Gaston overcome another obstacle in the seventh as he retired three in a row after a Nick Gatewood leadoff double. In the eighth, Alarcon got a one-out single in the eighth that was kept to a single thanks to some good hustle by Abbadessa in left field by getting to the line quickly. Gaston finished with a flourish by striking out the side.
The C’s executed a hit and run in the seventh when Schwecke—after reaching base on a two-out error by Alarcon at second—took off for second and that allowed Rodriguez to punch one through the hole on the right side of the infield to put runners on the corner but Brito struck out to end the threat. Rodriguez was able to return to action after suffering a hamstring pull two days ago.
Caracci overcame a couple of singles in the ninth thanks to the third double play of the game turned by the C’s infield. De Los Santos shovelled the ball out of his glove to Schwecke and he fired it to Rodriguez at first to complete the 4-6-3 sequence.
Abbadessa could have had a second hit on the night but he was robbed of a single up the middle in the second. Ilarraza ranged over to the second base bag from short and flipped the ball to second to force out a Contreras two-out walk.
The third episode of the C’s Plus Podcast is ready for your listening enjoyment. Ben Steiner called the pitches for this one along with some other C’s blogger. ;D
Mississauga, Ontario actor Richard Harmon —who plays John Murphy in the TV series The 100—threw out one of the ceremonial first pitches before Tuesday’s game.
Vancouver will try to play spoiler as they travel to Spokane to play the North-Division leading Indians. Wednesday’s, Thursday’s and Friday’s games can be heard on Sportsnet 650 and CanadiansBaseball.com beginning at 6:30 pm.
On a final note, my personal congratulations to Rob Fai for reaching the 1,000 game milestone. It’s a tremendous accomplishment. He deserves all the good compliments to come his way. Nice to see good things happen to good people!