The Vancouver Canadians are running out of gas on their current road trip. They lost their third in a row after falling 2-1 to the Tri-City Dust Devils at Gesa Stadium Saturday night.
Ronny Brito opened the scoring for the C’s in the third inning by launching his third home run of the season over the 400-foot sign in center field off Dust Devils starter Ignacio Feliz.
Tri-City was held down by Adam Kloffenstein until the sixth inning. Tre Carter and Jordy Barley both walked to start the frame and Reinaldo Ilarraza dropped a perfect bunt in front of the plate to load the bases. Ilarraza slid into first base to beat out the throw from catcher Yorman Rodriguez. Vancouver manager Casey Candaele came out to argue the call from base umpire Austin Nelson. Kelvin Melean hit into a 5-2 fielder’s choice that saw Jesus Lopez throw the ball to Yorman Rodriguez to force out Carter at the plate. Kloffenstein got ahead of Matthew Acosta at 1-2 but Acosta chopped a ball to second that Tanner Morris could not turn a double play on. Morris had to throw to first for the out instead and that allowed Barley to score the tying run. Kloffenstein then uncorked a wild pitch on ball four to Logan Driscoll that allowed Ilarraza to race home with the go-ahead run.
Luis Quinones got the final out of the sixth and pitched the rest of the way for Vancouver.
Wen-Hua Sung got the win with two shutout innings and Tom Colletti got the save with two more goose eggs.
Radar Gun Rundown
Kloffenstein was up to 96 miles per hour and had pitches at 78, 80, 83, 85, 87, 88, 90, 92, 94 and 95. One of his strikeouts was at 82. Quinones reached 97 miles per hour and clocked in at 76, 80, 82, 83 and 89.
Philip Clarke had his ups and downs Saturday. He lined out to Feliz on the mound for a 1-3 double play that erased a Morris leadoff walk to end the first inning. The former Vanderbilt Commodore then threw out Ilarraza trying to steal second after his one-out single in the bottom half of the first.
Clarke would be ejected by home plate umpire Willie Traynor for arguing a called strike three in the sixth inning. That led to some defensive shuffling for the bottom of the sixth. Rodriguez moved behind the plate from first base, Schwecke switched corners from third to first and Lopez came off the bench to play the hot corner.
Before Clarke’s ejection, Rodriguez was nearly robbed of a base hit as Carter nearly made a diving catch in right field but the ball popped out of his glove at the last second. Rodriguez was ruled out at first by base umpire Nelson but Traynor overruled his blue companion after Candaele came out to protest the call. Rodriguez got to second on a wild pitch but was stranded after Schwecke drove one to the warning track in right.
The ejection of Clarke hurt the C’s on two fronts. Not only did it take his bat out of the lineup but Kloffenstein was in command after spinning five shutout innings. Brett Wright would have been an option to take over behind the plate but he was the designated hitter so putting him behind the plate would have meant the loss of the DH for the rest of the night. Instead, Kloffenstein struggled to get on the same page as Rodriguez as all three of his walks came in the sixth. The long top of the sixth with two argued calls also did not help Kloffenstein.
Morris made a nice diving stop on a ground ball by Driscoll and was able to throw out Driscoll at first. The sell-out crowd at Gesa Stadium made their displeasure known about the call from base umpire Nelson.
Vancouver had a two-out rally going when Wright was hit by a pitch and Brito singled Wright over to third. Wright nearly slid face-first into the dirt near third base but was able to make it safelty. Wright and Brito were left on base when Dom Abbadessa was called out on strikes. Abbadessa was left shaking his head for a second time as he also disagreed with Traynor’s strike zone in the third.
Morris drove one deep to right field in the eighth inning but the ball died at the warning track for the second out of the inning.
The C’s got two runners on in the ninth when Schwecke had an infield single to short with one away before Cameron Eden kept the inning alive with a two-out single to left. Wright tried to bloop a single into right but Carter was able to run it down towards the right field line to end the ballgame.
My thanks to Dust Devils broadcaster Chris King for issuing a media credential for this game and to the team staff I encountered for their hospitality. Gesa Stadium is worth the visit and I hope to return there in the near future.