The Vancouver Canadians saw their slim playoff hopes get slimmer. The Tri-City Dust Devils shutout the C’s 2-0 at Gesa Stadium Thursday. That puts Vancouver three games behind the Dust Devils with 10 games left to play.
The Dust Devils—aka the Vineros de Tri City as part of the Copa de La Diversion initiative— scored in the second off Alex Nolan when Jack Stronach singled with one out. A throwing error by Nolan on a pick-off play allowed Stronach to get to second before scoring on a two-out single by Jason Pineda.
Tri-City tacked on an insurance marker in the seventh when Logan Driscoll singled off Mike Pascoe. Sean Guilbe was hit by a pitch and Jason Pineda walked to load the bases. Another ball four issued to Jonny Homza scored Driscoll and spelled the end of the line for Pascoe. Grayson Huffman stranded the bases loaded to end the seventh and allowed just one base runner when he plunked Kelvin Melean in the eighth. Huffman would proceed to pick off him off at first.
Guelph, Ontario native Jake Sims earned the win for the Dust Devils with two innings of two-hit in which he struck out four. Sam Keating got the hold with a shutout seventh and Felix Minjarez got the save with two scoreless frames by striking out all six batters he faced.
The Canadians struck out a whopping 17 times. They did not get their first base runner until the third when Dom Abbadessa reached on an error by short by Melean with one out. A wild pitch by Tri-City starter Ethan Elliott moved Abbadessa into scoring position but he was caught stealing third.
Vancouver’s first hit came off the bat of Jesus Lopez who singled with two out in the fourth.
The sixth inning saw the C’s load the bases with nobody out. Abbadessa singled to right, Adrian Ramos reached base on a sacrifice bunt that was mishandled by Sims and Tanner Morris filled the bags with a single up the middle. Trevor Schwecke struck out, Lopez was called out on strikes and McGregory Contreras hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice to end the rally.
Ronny Brito was the last C’s base runner of the night with a leadoff walk in the seventh but the last nine hitters went down in order, the last six by strikeout.
The offensive futility spoiled a sterling effort by Nolan who retired the side in order in five of the six innings he worked. He allowed just one hit and one walk that led to an unearned run and struck out six.
Huffman added two more strikeouts to the Vancouver pitching total and Pascoe had one to give them nine on the night.
The Canadians return home to begin their final homestand of the 2019 season. Up first is a four-game set against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes at Nat Bailey Stadium. Gabriel Ponce is listed as the probable starter for the C’s. Friday’s game at 7:05 pm can be heard on Sportsnet 650 and CanadiansBaseball with Rob Fai who made a special announcement on Twitter Thursday.