The Vancouver Canadians have victory number one of the 2021 season. A four-run rally in the eighth helped the C’s upend the Tri-City Dust Devils 5-2 at Gesa Stadium Thursday night.
Ronny Brito‘s first hit of the year—a single to left field—led off the eighth and he advanced to second on a Kyle Molnar wild pitch. Brito got to third on a Philip Clarke groundout to first but Tanner Morris struck out swinging for the second out. Just when it looked like the C’s were going to squander another scoring opportunity, Spencer Horwitz changed the narrative with a single to left to score Brito to tie the game at 2-2.
Ryan Gold pushed Horwitz to third with a base hit up the middle and would advance into scoring position on the play. Zac Kristofak was brought in from the Dust Devils pen but a Brendon Davis throwing error at third on a D.J. Neal ground ball allowed Horwitz to cross the plate with the go-ahead run. L.J. Talley then drilled a double to right to score Gold and Neal to increase the C’s lead to three.
The Canadians opened the scoring when Tanner Kirwer pulled one over the wall in left in the fifth inning off Luis Ramirez for Vancouver’s first home run of the season. That 1-0 lead was short-lived. Really short-lived as a matter of fact as Adrian Rondon matched Kirwer’s shot by depositing the first pitch from Troy Miller over the fence in left-center to tie the game. The Canadians right-hander had set down 10 Dust Devils in a row, retiring the side in order in the second, third and fourth innings.
Miller struck out the next two hitters swinging but Pedro Diaz would reach first on a wild pitch. Gold tried to throw out Diaz at first to complete the strikeout and Clarke tried to keep his foot on the bag at first but a collision resulted in Diaz being shaken up. The Dust Devils left fielder would score the go-ahead run on a two-out single to left by Livan Soto. Diaz would be replaced by Ty Greene in the next-half inning. Parker Caracci was called in to relieve Miller and he left runners on the corners by getting Brendon Davis on a grounder to third for the final out.
Caracci walked Drevian Williams-Nelson to begin the sixth but he was thrown out trying to steal second by Gold. he faced in the sixth but Gold. The former hurler from Ole Miss struck out four of the next five batters he faced, including three in a row in the seventh.
Hagen Danner made his professional pitching debut for the C’s in the eighth and what a debut it was. The former catcher struck out the first two men he faced in his first inning and after plunking Williams-Nelson with a full-count pitch to start the ninth, Danner sandwiched a groundout with a pair of strikeouts to end the game and collect his first professional save. According to C’s broadcaster Tyler Zickel, the Blue Jays second round pick in 2017 lit up the radar gun at 95, 96 and 98 miles per hour.
The Dust Devils lost Jordyn Adams to injury in the first inning. He doubled to left with two outs but had to leave the game with a sore leg. The 17th overall pick of the Los Angeles Angels in 2018 was replaced by Williams-Nelson.
Kirwer tried to get Vancouver’s first run a lot sooner than the fifth inning. He coaxed a leadoff walk from Dust Devils Zach Linginfelter to begin the game and stole second base. The Alberta native managed to advance to third on a Will Robertson grounder to short but he was left there after Brito and Clarke grounded out.
The C’s loaded the bases with one out in the fourth on a Clarke single, a Morris walk and a Horwitz base hit but Gold popped up to third and Neal was caught looking at strike three. Horwitz hit the ball on the screws but it went off Davis’ glove at third before going into left field. Clarke had to make sure the ball would get through cleanly and stopped in his tracks before proceeding to third.
The sixth inning saw Morris work the count to ball four with one out. He would steal second and get to third on a throwing error by Tri-City catcher Franklin Torres. Horwitz also drew a base on balls but Ramirez bailed out Molnar by striking out Gold and getting Neal to ground out to second.
The ninth inning saw Brito and Morris earn free passes against Erick Julio but Brito was caught trying to steal third base to snuff that rally.
Talley tried to steal second after an infield single to start the fifth but he was thrown out. That happened just before Kirwer’s homer.
The C’s were just 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position with nine men left on base but three of their runs came with two outs.
Horwitz had a perfect night at the plate with two hits and two walks. Kirwer and Talley also had two hits apiece. Morris walked three times.
It was a good night for C’s hurlers as they combined on a three-hitter and posted a 15-2 strikeout/walk total with Miller striking out seven and Caracci and Danner splitting the other eight whiffs.
The C’s and Dust Devils begin the latter-half of their six-game series Friday night at Gesa Stadium. First pitch is at 6:30 pm. C.J. Van Eyk will start for Vancouver.
C’s Alumni Report
Cavan Biggio (2016) went 3-for-5, Jonathan Davis (2014) was 1-for-5 with a run scored and Travis Bergen (2015-2017) threw two shutout innings as Toronto trounced Oakland 10-4.
2019 C’s starter Alek Manoah racked up 12 strikeouts and gave up two hits over six shutout innings as Buffalo walloped Worcester 10-1. He threw 81 pitches, 50 for strikes, and induced four groundball outs. Rowdy Tellez (2014) homered, doubled and walked and Logan Warmoth (2017) homered for the second time in as many games and drew a walk. Cullen Large (2017) had a three-hit effort.
Nick Podkul (2018) had a three-run triple and Brock Lundquist (2017) drew a bases-loaded walk in a five-run first inning for New Hampshire but the Fisher Cats lost to Portland 9-6. New Hampshire also lost the second game 4-3. Jon Harris (2015) struck out four over two innings but gave up a solo homer to take the loss. Starting the game for Portland was 2018 Northwest League Pitcher of the Year Josh Winckowski. He surrendered just one hit but walked four as he coughed up three unearned runs in 3-1/3 innings for a no-decision. Winckowski was dealt to the New York Mets by Toronto over the off-season in the Steven Matz deal before being dealt to Boston in a three-team that involved Kansas City.